Bijai Prasad had to tick YES or NO: "Have you ever been convicted of a criminal offence and sentenced to imprisonment of more than six months"; now Supervisor of Elections Saneem is trying to wriggle out
by citing the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA) 1997; BUT even The AUSTRALIAN ADMINISTRATIVE APPEALS TRIBUNAL, 1993, refused to apply the ROA when it stripped Prasad of citizenship: "On the basis of the applicant's own evidence I find that, when he applied for permanent resident status, he not only concealed his conviction but also the employment in which he was engaged when the offence was committed."
The Registrar of Political Parties
Your findings against my objections
Dated May 30th 2014
I refer to your emailed decision regarding the registration of Fiji First and the grounds on which you made your ruling against those objecting. My response is outlined as follows:-
- No of Complaints
It was not a 2nd complaint that required my signature; it was information to be added to the only SIGNED objection that I lodged at your office.
Therefore your reference to the supplementary information being an unsigned letter is incorrect and your conclusion that it failed to meet the particulars of Sec 9 (3) is also incorrect.
My objections were also sent to you via your personal email and the website email
- Complaints to the Police & MIDA
The fact that your other government agencies such as the Police and MIDA are either deliberately dragging their feet or inefficient is not the fault or concern of the complainant, but rather a reflection of the level of incompetence or bias of those organizations charged with the responsibility of maintaining law and order and ensuring a fair and balanced Media.
In addition, you are the registrar of political parties, not me, so it’s your job to investigate my claims to determine if they are factual and a little effort on your part would have resulted in you being able to conclude that the complaints I referred to are factual and investigations stalled or otherwise are underway.
- Fiji First 2006 elections
- Illegal use of the Fiji Coat of Arms
- False Declaration of Bajaj Prasad
You state in your decision that quote ‘Mr Bajaj Prasad was convicted in 1982 and in accordance with the Rehabilitation of Offenders (irrelevant Convictions) Act 1997, the said conviction is no longer relevant. Secondly Mr Prasad had, since the matter was raised, resigned from being the Vice President of the applicant. Having pursued the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1997, I am bound not to discriminate Mr Prasad on the basis of his irrelevant conviction. I accept he has resigned from the applicant as well and in light of the law, this objection is also dismissed’ Mr Baba, in raising the irrelevant conviction is in contravention of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1997’ unquote
I put it to you Mr Registrar of political parties that you have erred in your decision on this particular point for the following reason:-
The breach I refer to is not about the previous conviction, jail time, record, duration of imprisonment or the time lapse since the conviction of Mr Bijay Prasad. The breach of the decree is all about his ‘false declaration’ plain and simple.
But given that you are obviously unfamiliar with your government’s own decrees allow me to restate it for the record.
Political Parties (Registration, Conduct, Funding and Disclosures) Decree 2013 (Decree No 4 of 2013) says and I quote:
Sec 27 (1) A person who-
(a) Fails to furnish particulars or information required to be furnished by a political party or by him or her un this decree
(b) Makes a statement which he or she knows to be false or which he or she has no reason to believe to be true ; or
(c) Recklessly makes a false statement under this decree, commits an offence and shall be liable upon conviction to a fine not exceeding $10,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years or to both
(2) Where a political party commits an offence under this decree, every office holder of the political party shall also be deemed to have committed the offence. Unquote:
I am not a lawyer but I do understand simple English and according to Sec 27 (1) (b) and (c) Mr Bijay Prasad has committed an offence, plain and simple and that’s what you are supposed to make a determination on, nothing else.
Mr Bajaj Prasad is not guilty of an offence involving his previous conviction; he is guilty of knowingly making a false statement to the question of a previous conviction.
The fact that he resigned after the matter was raised is irrelevant and does not absolve him from having committed the offence by knowingly or recklessly making the false statement about a previous conviction at the time of ‘lodging’ of the Fiji First application to register.
It has not escaped my notice and I am sure the country’s that you seemed to have based your entire grounds of dismissal of our objections on the applicant’s Fiji First’s response.
I am sure, the fact that the Fiji First official, [the person] General Secretary Mr A. Khaiyum who just happens to be the AG, Minister for Justice and a few others as well as Minister of Elections and therefore your boss, has nothing to do with your determination in this matter, even though as the Minister responsible for elections [the person] Mr Khaiyum and his Boss and your grand Boso [the other person] Frank Bainimarama both have a vested interest in the outcome of this application and your decision.
For the future, I would like my response to you today to be properly recorded and filed so that in the event that an independent Judicial accounting of the conduct of the 2014 Election process and procedures is undertaken by the new democratic government of Fiji, our views are clearly recorded.
Millis M Beddoes