Fiji’s President Ratu Wiliame Katoniverere Thursday suspended the island nation’s Director of Public Prosecutor (DPP) Christopher Pryde.
The President in a letter advised him that a tribunal would be appointed to investigate alleged misbehaviour.
He said the convening of a tribunal is in keeping with Chapter 5, Part A, Section 112 (3) of the Fiji Constitution.
President Katonivere further informed Pryde that following the advice of the Judicial Services Commission, with regard to the nature of the complaints, it was appropriate that he be suspended pending referral to the tribunal.
His suspension is in accordance with Chapter 5, Part A, Section 112 (4) of the Fiji Constitution.
“You are suspended, and you are to take your overdue leave of 168 days which expires sometime in December 2023, and the same to take immediate effect,” said President Katonivere in the letter that was hand-delivered to Pryde late Thursday.
“Upon receipt of this letter, you are required to immediately hand over all official property, including but not limited to laptop, mobile phone and keys in your possession, to the Chief Registrar of the High Court” the letter added.
The letter was dated 13 April 2023.
In another letter dated Thursday, the President wrote to senior Suva lawyer, Ratu David George Toganivalu to advise him of his appointment as acting Director of Public Prosecutions.
“In exercising the authority vested in me by Chapter 5, Part B, Section 117 (4) of the Constitution of the Republic of Fiji, and acting upon the recommendation of the Judicial Services Commission, after having consulted the Attorney General, I hereby appoint you to act as Director of Public Prosecutions with immediate effect,” said President Katonivere in his letter.
“I wish you well and hope that you will uphold the dignity and integrity of the office,” the President added.
The move came on the same day the Director of Public Prosecution office announced that police had asked it to consider suspected charges against the Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka, former Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama, former Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho, former Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum and Minister for Rural, Maritime Development and Disaster Management, Sakeasi Ditoka.
Meanwhile, official complaints received by the Fiji Police Force where all the persons of interest concerned have been brought in, interviewed, and the investigation files were submitted to the ODPP for their legal advice.
“Due to the nature and complexity of the case, the Fiji Police Force will not be releasing information directly on the facts of each case as the matter is still under investigation,” a statement from the Fiji Police Chief of Intelligence and Investigation ACP Sakeo Raikaci said.
“The investigation process is such that when a report is lodged, investigators gather as much relevant evidence and statements before persons are brought in for questioning.
“After such process, the file is then sent to the DPP’s office for legal advice.
The Fiji Police Force does not wish to pre-empt charges until and unless ODPP provides the legal advice on the charges to be laid against the individual person of interest,” the statement said.
The Fiji Police Force will not make further comments on the issue.