18 Jul 2013

Fiji Commerce Commission can't rule on complaints political in nature

5:04 pm on 18 July 2013

Fiji's Commerce Commission says it can't make any ruling on the complaints received by political parties regarding the cost of publishing the declaration of their assets and liabilities.

This week, the Labour Party was suspended for failing to pay a bill for the publication of its financial records, a requirement parties have to meet in order to register.

Last week, three of Fiji's four parties were sent a 14,000 US dollar bill from the Fiji Sun newspaper, through the registrar of political parties, for publishing the information.

The main objection to the Commerce Commission was that the registrar chose the Fiji Sun without calling for tenders.

But the chairperson of the Commission, Dr Mahendra Reddy, says since the introduction of the Political Parties Decree, the Commission no longer has jurisdiction to deliberate on complaints that relate to political processes.

Dr Reddy says the only avenue now would be to take the registrar of political parties to court.

Dr Reddy says they did find on comparing quotes with other newspapers that the Fiji Sun charged less than the market rate.