Chaudhry insists on staying at the helm of Fiji Labour Party as its leader despite conviction
I’m entitled to hold my post in FLP - Chaudhry
Mahendra Chaudhry said he will continue to be the Fiji Labour Party Leader because he is entitled to hold the post. Chaudhry said he is not doing anything wrong under Political Parties Registration Decree.
Under the Political Parties Registration Decree, a person is disqualified from being an office holder of a political party if that person has, in the five years preceding the date when he or she applies to become an office holder of the political party, has been convicted of an offence and sentenced to imprisonment for a period of not less than 6 months. In Chaudhry’s case, he has been fined 2 million dollars and he only faces the 15 months prison sentence if he does not pay the fine by the 30th of June this year. This means that he can continue to be the FLP Leader as he is not facing a prison sentence at this stage. However Chaudhry cannot contest the September 17th election this year as his conviction remains after he was found guilty of three counts of breach of the Exchange Control Act and sentenced by Justice Paul Madigan. The 2013 constitution clearly states that a person may be a candidate for election to parliament only if the person has not, at any time during the eight years immediately before being nominated, been convicted of any offence under any law for which the maximum penalty is a term of imprisonment of 12 months or more. The same is stated in the Electoral Decree for candidate eligibility. When asked on why he continues to remain the FLP Leader after being convicted and sentenced, Chaudhry said only his members have the right to decide on his future.
The FLP will have a meeting tomorrow. FLP President, Lavinia Padarath has also revealed that Chaudhry appealed his court conviction last month. Source: Fijivillage News, 7 May 2014