Former Fiji PM Voreqe Bainimarama referred to Privileges Committee

The Speaker of Fiji’s Parliament Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu has referred Former Prime Minister and now Opposition Leader, Voreqe Bainimarama to the Parliament Privileges Committee.

Minister for Home Affairs Pio Tikoduadua alleged that Bainimarama uttered words that are denigrating, humiliating to the Head of State and also as Commander-in-Chief when appealing to the rank and file of the RFMF which in view of Tikoduadua are highly seditious and disrespectful while dishonoring the dignity and bringing Parliament into disrepute which contravene the Parliamentary Standing Orders.

The Privileges Committee has to meet from later today and report back to Parliament on Friday.

Speaker Ratu Naiqama said the Home Affairs Minister Tikoduadua raised the privilege matter and stated that Bainimarama’s statement was seditious and disrespectful, and it dishonored the dignity of Parliament.

“The words used by the Honorable Leader of Opposition are matters which are out of order in this Parliament and constitute the prima-facia breach of privilege.”

Section 62 of the Parliamentary Standing Orders states that an MP must not impute improper motives to any other member.

It further states that President’s name may not be introduced to influence Parliament or any committee, the conduct of members, the President, the Chief Justice, or the offices that is performing the functions of the office of the President including members of the judiciary or other persons acting in a judicial capacity must not be raised, except on a motion with notice introduced with the Speaker’s permission.

In any other situation, reference to the conduct of any of these individuals is out of order.

In addition, it is also out of order for an MP to speak or use offensive words against Parliament or another member; treasonable words; seditious words; or words that are likely to promote or provoke feelings of ill-will or hostility between communities or ethnic groups within Fiji.

The Privileges Committee members include Lenora Qereqeretabua as the chair, Lynda Tabuya, Eseroma Immanuel, FijiFirst MP’s Faiyaz Koya, and Jone Usamate.

Meanwhile, Bainimarama was not present in Parliament this morning.

He is scheduled to be at the Criminal Investigations Department in Toorak, Suva for further questioning today for allegations of abuse of office.

Pursuant to Standing Order 127(2) the mandate of the Privileges Committee is to –

(a) bring to the attention of Parliament any breach of the privileges of Parliament committed by any person;

(b) consider any questions of privilege as may be referred to it by Parliament or the Speaker whether under Standing Order 134 or otherwise;

(c) inquire into any complaint that may be referred to it by Parliament or Speaker concerning any breach of privilege on the part of any person or persons; and

(d) provide reports and recommendations to Parliament as a result of any matter referred to it.