Shadow Minister for Justice, Faiyaz Koya says the recent appointment of Acting Director of Public Prosecutions, David Toganivalu, to double up as the Acting Commissioner of the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption is a conflict of interest.
In a statement, the former Minister said Attorney-General Siromi Turaga’s statement, wrongly asserted that no conflict of interest exists in this situation.
“This is simply incorrect. Both the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and FICAC are supposed to operate as independent entities, a fact that should be well-known to both Toganivalu and the Attorney-General.”
He said Togaivalu’s statement that both bodies are prosecuting for the Government is deeply concerning and begs the question ‘Is there an agenda’?
“Both Offices are meant to be independent entities, not extensions of the Government as was stated by Toganivalu, raising serious questions about the blurring lines between their independence.”
Koya said the 2013 Constitution clearly outlines the independence of the judicial and legal institutions in Part B of Chapter 5 – Sections 115 and 117, which establishes the independence of FICAC and the ODPP.
Koya said the recent appointment contradicts these sections of the country’s supreme law.
He said Under Section 117, subsection 8 paragraph (b)-(8) the Director of Public Prosecutions may (b) take over criminal proceedings that have been instituted by another person or authority (except proceedings instituted by FICAC).
“These sections of the Constitution are very clear and show that the new appointment of the acting DPP taking on the position of acting Commissioner FICAC would be a gross Constitutional breach.”
“The A-G must comprehend that there is no avenue to circumvent the Constitution. The separation of powers is not just a principle but a fundamental aspect of Fiji’s democracy.”
“It is crucial to maintain separate mandates for the DPP and FICAC to avoid any actual or perceived conflict of interest. The Judicial Services Commission must refrain from such appointments, where the DPP holds the position of Acting Commissioner FICAC as well as holding the acting DPP position at the same time, which is against the Constitution,” he added.