Fijileaks: When Khaiyum chided Young and called on him to expedite the appointment of Leawere, he (Khaiyum) was AWARE that Leawere was the losing candidate who should enter Parliament - now he is moving the constitutional and electoral goal post by arguing that "a public officer" can't be an MP; and why is Devanesh Sharma representing A-G - where are the lawyers in Attorney-General's Office all gone to - HOME? According to Fijileaks sources inside A-G's Office, Khaiyum became upset that the Electoral Commission had used an outside lawyer for an independent legal advice regarding the awarding of the seat to Leawere!
High Court Judge, Justice David Alfred will rule next Monday on whether SODELPA’s, Mikaele Leawere is the rightful holder of the parliamentary seat and whether the Electoral Commission made the right decision in awarding him the seat.
The lawyer for the Electoral Commission, Bhupendra Patel today told the High Court that the commission correctly awarded the parliament seat to SODELPA’s Mikaele Leawere after the passing away of SODELPA MP, Ratu Viliame Tagivetaua.
While arguing the case on behalf of the commission, Patel mentioned that the award was made under the Electoral Decree.
He says the seat was awarded on the 27th of April and the commission carried out it’s duty under the law to award the seat to Leawere.
Patel also highlighted that Opposition Leader, Ro Teimumu Kepa had written a letter to the commission in March this year which also included attached letters from July 17th, 2014 showing that Mikaele Leawere wrote to the Fijian Teachers Association stating that he is to file his nomination for elections and tendered his resignation from FTA.
Patel says the resignation was also accepted by FTA on 18th July, 2014.
He told presiding judge, Justice David Alfred that there is no law that prohibits Leawere from holding the parliamentary seat.
Patel says the Electoral Commission had to pick the name of the highest ranked candidate from the same party who did not get elected in the elections. He says there is no dispute that Leawere was the highest ranked candidate.
Patel says the commission can only refuse to award the seat to a candidate if he or she is not available at the date of the vacancy.
The Attorney General’s petition seeks a determination that the Electoral Commission erred in law in awarding a vacant parliamentary seat to Leawere, who was the SODELPA candidate with the highest number of votes in the September 2014 General Election after SODELPA MP, Ratu Viliame Tagivetaua’s death on March 5th this year.
Mikaele Leawere’s lawyer, Jon Apted said in court today that Leawere had already resigned from FTA before the general elections. Apted says Leawere resumed employment at FTA after he was unsuccessful in the elections.
Lawyer for the AG’s Office, Devinesh Sharma says the law is clear that if you are a holder of a public office, your nomination becomes invalid after you take up public office.
Sharma says Leawere was disqualified from January this year when he took up office at the Fijian Teachers Association. He says he was still holding that position when he was approached to take up the parliament seat in March.
Mikaele Leawere’s lawyer, Jon Apted says Leawere was the highest ranked SODELPA candidate who was not a member of Parliament. He says based on this, the Electoral Commission awarded the seat to Leawere. Source: Fijivillage, 3/4/2015