The Fiji Law Society has written to Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka to request the withdrawal of the appointment of Filimoni Vosarogo as Attorney General.
In a statement, the Society says it cannot support and strongly objects to Vosarogo’s recent appointment.
According to the Society, Vosarogo is disqualified from holding the office of Attorney General under Section 96(2)(b) of the 2013 Constitution.
The Society notes that it is a matter of public record that Vosarogo, as a legal practitioner, pleaded guilty in a number of disciplinary proceedings before the Independent Legal Services Commission.
According to the statement, compliance with the laws of Fiji is not a matter of choice but a fundamental principle of the rule of law, which applies equally to everyone, including the government of the day.
The Society says it will pursue the matter in court if it is forced to do so, but hopes that it will not be necessary.
Vosarogo was reassigned as AG and Minister for Justice last week as part of a cabinet reshuffle, and former AG Siromi Turaga has been reassigned to the ministerial portfolio of Lands and Mineral Resources.
Meanwhile, FijiFirst Member of Parliament, Faiyaz Koya says the appointment of Filimoni Vosarogo as the Attorney-General breaches Section 96(2)(b) of the 2013 Constitution.
Speaking to FijiLive, Koya said the Attorney-General must have a minimum of 15 years of post-admission experience and must not have been found guilty by the Independent Legal Services Commission (ISLC).
Koya said Vosarogo was found guilty by the ISLC in 2013 and 2017 and has received multiple sanctions.
He said, based on this information, he is not qualified to be the Attorney-General under the Constitution.
“It is crucial that their understanding of the law is comprehensive and complete, and must ensure that the Government is always in compliance with the law.”
“It has been noticed that there may be a lack of understanding regarding the Constitution among the Prime Minister’s advisors.”
“The Constitution is the supreme law, and the Coalition Government must understand that it must always comply with the Constitution and there is no way that this can be circumvented. The appointment of Vosarogo as Attorney-General is a clear violation of the Constitution,” Koya added.
FijiLive has reached out to the Vosarogo for a comment.
In another development, SODELPA general secretary Viliame Takayawa has pledged the party’s loyal support to the Coalition Government following Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka’s announcement on Friday of a ministerial portfolio reshuffling.
Speaking to The Fiji Times he said that while they have questions regarding the lack of consultation with the relevant ministers prior to the announcement, they also understood that Rabuka has full discretion when it comes to ministerial portfolios.
He said the party learnt about the restructuring on social media as they were not consulted beforehand.
On Friday, Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka announced a “strategic reassignment of ministerial portfolios” through a statement on his official Facebook page which highlighted a number of reassignments that were to come into effect on 17 October 2023.
Two of these reassignments included iTaukei Affairs Minister Ifereimi Vasu exchanging portfolios with Education Minister Aseri Radrodro, both of whom are SODELPA members.
“We fully understand that the Prime Minister has the discretion to constitutional rights to do what he wants to do with the ministerial portfolios. But it also is about respecting the Coalition,” Takayawa said.
“There’s three parties in the Coalition Government and for us, we got our consultation through Facebook. Our caucus members are happy with whatever is given to them in terms of ministerial portfolios or anything.
“But just to inform them (in advance) because they’ve already planned out. These are not broken ministries. These are not ministries that are not functioning or not performing. They’re on full swing.”
He said that currently one SODELPA minister was in Kadavu, another in Naitasiri and the third on work travel overseas “so it would be better if we had known earlier so that they can make their plans on transferring”.
“We are lost for words. The word that popped into my mind is ‘why change something that is not broken? It’s not like they’re sitting down doing nothing and there’s no performance.
“These guys are on the road in Suva, Viti Levu, Vanua Levu and into the islands every second day and they’ve planned out their work for the next few months.”
However, Takayawa gave his assurance that this would not, in any way, affect the party’s commitment to the Coalition partners.
“We do not deviate from our commitment to the Coalition. We are not that kind, that are disloyal, we’re not that type. We’re SODELPA people.”
Takayawa said that now the party was just documenting all that they’ve received and all that they’ve been told and would present this in their next board meeting.
When contacted by The Fiji Times Vasu said that he was in Kadavu, and network connection was an issue.
When asked whether he was content with the reappointments he said he’ll need to get to Suva first then he could comment further.
SOURCE: FBC NEWS/FIJILIVE/FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS