"We have decided that the excess allowances paid under the new rate from the old rate will be deposited into the NFP Relief and Welfare Account to be used for charitable, welfare and relief purposes." - NFP
NFP rounded up on its latest allowance pronouncement:
Mrs Viniana Namosimalua
Parliament of the Republic of Fiji
Re Payment of Allowances
We refer to your letter dated 25th November 2016 (Ref: PARL2/39) where you stated that Parliament is unable to pay the Leader of National Federation Party and the Party’s Parliamentary Whip, parliamentary emoluments and per diem for overseas travel wherever applicable, on the old rate before 29th September 2016.
You basically state that Parliament’s response of “ that your office will be instructed to action accordingly” as advised by the Honourable Madam Speaker in accordance with our request of 3rd October 2016, that both of us should only be paid allowances or emoluments on the old rate applicable before 39 Government and Opposition Parliamentarians voted themselves on 29th September 2016 (except the two NFP MPs who voted against the Motion) to increase the allowances, breaches the Parliamentary Remunerations Decree 2014, following your office obtaining legal advice.
Similarly, a week later on 2nd December 2016, the Honourable Madam Speaker in an interview with The Fiji Times “Request Rejected : - rejected our request of paying us allowances under the old rate applicable before it was increased by Parliament, saying the old emoluments were “non-existent” because new rates of emoluments were approved as law by Parliament.
We are unable to accept the fact that paying reduced allowances under the old rate constitutes a breach of Parliamentary Remunerations Decree 2014, which is the independent legal advice provided to your office.
In the absence of your office providing us a copy of such advice, we presume it has been provided by the Solicitor-General’s Office, which is not an independent office but a State Law Office and reports to the Attorney General who is the Minister Responsible for Parliament.
So it is wrong to describe it as independent legal advice. Parliament, as the highest Court of the Land must make decisions independently of any party, institution or the State. Unfortunately this is sadly lacking in our parliamentary democracy since it started on 6th October 2014 due to the absence of an independent Parliamentary Counsel.
But now that both the Honourable Madam Speaker and your Office have made the decision supposedly in accordance with “independent legal advice provided by the Solicitor-General’s Office”, we have no recourse for redress and as such have to conditionally accept new rates of emoluments.
We request your office for the following: -
- We will uplift our emoluments, for whatever it is applicable, approved by Parliamentary majority vote on 29th September 2016 only if Parliament, together with the new rate of emoluments, provides us with a breakdown of emoluments that we would have received or paid on the old rate, applicable before 29th September 2016.
- We have decided that the excess allowances paid under the new rate from the old rate will be deposited into the NFP Relief and Welfare Account to be used for charitable, welfare and relief purposes.
- We will therefore not personally and financially benefit from the increased emoluments paid to us, in conformity to our principles, the reasons espoused during debate on the Emoluments Motion in Parliament on 29th September 2016 and our vote against the Motion.
- We will therefore be extremely grateful if the calculation on the old rate before 29th September 2016 is provided with the emolument payments in order for us to correctly receive such emoluments on the old rate as well as deposit the excess allowance into the NFP Relief and Welfare Account to be used for the purpose we have stated.
Hon Professor Biman Prasad
Hon Prem Singh
NFP Parliamentary Whip
c.c. Hon Dr Jiko Luveni – Madam Speaker