30 Nov 2007

Interim Fiji PM castigates lawyers

3:12 pm on 30 November 2007

Fiji's interim prime minister has accused what he described as some very respectable law firms of judge shopping and being linked in corrupt activities.

Commodore Frank Bainimarama made the comments at the Attorney General's Conference which is underway on the Coral Coast.

He said these same law firms and lawyers are the most vocal against the interim government, supposedly in the protection of the rule of law.

Commodore Bainimarama said no large scale fraud or corruption can succeed without a group of obliging lawyers ready to launder money in overseas bank accounts, ready to evade axes, ready to cook the books and ready to set up companies with dubious motives.

He said the same lawyers are then ready to confuse the court system when their clients are eventually caught and tried.

Commodore Bainimarama said the investigations currently under way in Fiji throw up the names of the same lawyers over and over again.

He said lawyers who behave corruptly such as counseling their clients to evade the law, obstruct police investigations and even bribe court staff do far more damage to the rule of law than any member of the military has ever done.

Commodore Bainimarama warned those in the legal profession to clean up their act or be disciplined.