Wednesday, May 30, 2007

FICAC Lawyer yet to be issued practicing certificate

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Suva Lawyer Graham Leung
Lawyers representing former Assistant Commissioner Crime Josaia Rasiga and Abaz Ali have questioned the legality of the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption and whether the Prosecutor acting on its behalf should be permitted to practice in Fiji.

As the case was called this morning, Suva Lawyer Graham Leung revealed that FICAC Lawyer Grant Tyrell is yet to be issued a practicing certificate or a temporary admission to the bar in Fiji and thus the charges brought before the court by him cannot be considered as he cannot represent the state.

Leung also told Magistrate Aruna Prasad that his client is challenging the constitutionality of FICAC and the regulations under which it operates.

He highlighted that the substantial legal matters which they want the courts to decide include whether the President Ratu Josefa Iloilo has the legislative powers to enact the FICAC promulgation under section 85 of the constitution which deals with the Executive Powers vested in the President.

Leung said under the 1997 constitution laws can only be enacted by an elected House of Representatives and questioned whether Section 45 of the constitution which relates to the Powers of Parliament are still operative. The Lawyer said these are substantial questions of law and called on Magistrate Prasad to refer this matter to the high court for consideration.

The court was also informed by Leung that the matter regarding Ali's breach of bail conditions as claimed by the state cannot be heard by Magistrate Aruna Prasad under the Bail Act which states that a Magistrate cannot review her own decision on bail. Rasiga's Lawyer Mehboob Raza concurred with his colleague.

FICAC Lawyer Grant Tyrell then stood up to confirm that he was made aware this morning regarding his practicing certificate and it was being looked into.

He argued that the matter before the court is the alleged breach of bail conditions by Ali and not the matters raised in relation to FICAC.

However, Magistrate Aruna Prasad said she is concerned whether she should even listen to Tyrell based on the information she has just been provided and whether she can review the request on bail variations as sought by FICAC.

Magistrate Prasad will deliver her ruling on the two matters tomorrow at 2:30pm and before deciding whether the matter regarding the legality of FICAC should be referred to the high court.

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