16 Aug 2006

Fiji Labour Party drops internal disciplinary charges

5:42 pm on 16 August 2006

The Fiji Labour Party has dropped disciplinary charges against five senior members who had publicly questioned Mahendra Chaudhry's senate nominations and his autocratic decision making style.

Radio Fiji reports that the decision was reached at a party executive meeting today.

It comes just a day ahead of tomorrow's High Court hearing of a writ in which the five claimed that Mr Chaudhry and party president Jokapeci Koroi had no constitutional authority to lay charges against them.

Those facing charges were cabinet ministers Krishna Datt and Poseci Bune, MPs Felix Anthony and Agni Deo Singh, and former senator Dr Atu Emberson-Bain.

Their lawyer, Hemendra Nagin, was quoted as saying that because Mr Chaudhry and Mrs Koroi did not have the powers to lay disciplinary charges, they were illegal and could not be taken to the Labour Party's national council for action.

Radio Fiji says the national council meeting will take place on Saturday but it will now discuss the government's controversial Qoliqoli and Indigenous Land Claims Tribunal Bills.