Former Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and the suspended Commissioner of Police Brigadier-General Sitiveni Qiliho, have written to His Excellency the President, formerly lodging a complaint on the appointment of John Rabuku, as the Acting Director of Public Prosecutions.
In the letter received by FijiLive, Bainimarama quotes Section 117(2) of the Constitution which states that the DPP must be qualified to be appointed as a Judge.
He said section 105 (2) (b) of the Constitution states that a person is not qualified for the appointment as a Judge unless he or she has not been found guilty of any disciplinary proceeding involving legal practitioners whether in Fiji or abroad, including any proceeding by the Independent Legal Services Commission or any proceeding under the law governing legal practitioners, barristers and solicitors prior to the establishment of the Independent Legal Services Commission.
Bainimarama said in 2013, the then Commission of the Independent Legal Services Commission, had found Rabuku guilty of failing to respond to a complaint by one Jeanette Kapio, contrary to Section 88(1)(g) of the Legal Practitioners Act.
In that hearing, Justice Paul Madigan ruled that Rabuku be publicly reprimanded, that the also be suspended from practice for a period of three months from the date of judgement and that he be fined $500.
The former Prime Minister said Section 117 of the Constitution states that the President may, on the recommendation of the Judicial Services Commission following consultation by it with the Attorney-General, appoint a person to act as the Director of Public Prosecutions during any period or during all periods, when the office of the DPP is vacant or when the DPP is absent from duty or from Fiji or for any reason, unable to perform the functions of the office.
“It is quite clear that Mr Rabuku did not qualify to be appointed to the position of DPP, and submit that his appointment is in contravention of the Constitution and must be rescinded.”
The former Prime Minister informed His Excellency the President must obtain independent legal advice on this issue, and not from the Office of the Attorney-General or from the Solicitor-General on the basis of a conflict of interest.
Bainimarama said these offices are clearly conflicted by virtue of the fact that the AG has been consulted on and endorsed the appointment and the Solicitor-General, who is also the Permanent Secretary for Justice, is a member of the Judicial Services Commission.
He claimed that the Office of the President is being misled when the JSC, the AG and the Acting DPP would have known that it was unconstitutional to appoint him as the Acting DPP – Rabuku is holding this position illegally, and all those involved in appointing him to this position have breached the provisions of the Fijian Constitution.
“Given that the appeal is on foot, this complaint is to be dealt with expeditiously. We have noted that the appeal filed by the unconstitutionally appointed Acting DPP have moved with lightening speed with the appeal being filed in 2 November 2023 and sets of Court Record which consists of three volumes totalling 1,362 pages in one set being prepared by the Registry by 16 November 2023, and handed to us in Court.”
“The Registry has completed these sets within two weeks from the appeal being filed by the unconstitutional Acting DPP. This is record time for any appeal filed by the State or any ordinary litigant, especially in a case such as ours which includes various exhibits and transcripts from a lengthy trial,” Bainimarama said.
FijiLive has sent questions to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Office of the Attorney-General and to the Solicitor-General for responses.
It is understood that His Excellency the President requested an audience with the Attorney-General on Monday; however, the Attorney-General said that he was not made aware of the request and that he was not in Suva on Monday.
“I am not aware…and also I was not in Suva at that time,” Turaga said.