Friday, January 15, 2010

PM now has Powers to Stop Govt pensions - How Draconian?

by: Fiji Broadcasting Corporation, 15 January 2010

The Prime Minister now has the powers to stop any allowance, salary, pension or any other benefit or entitlement under the Parliamentary Retirement Allowances Decree 1989, the Prime Minister's Pensions Act 1994, the Judges Remuneration and Emoluments Act and the Pensions Act.

This follows the gazetting of the Pensions and Retirement Allowances Decree 2009, which is signed by President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau.

It is also made clear in the decree that this does not apply to any allowance, pension or any other benefit or entitlement payable under the Fiji National Provident Act.

The new decree states that the Prime Minister can cease the pensions and retirement allowances and other benefits if he is satisfied that the person has, in any way, whether in Fiji or abroad and whether before or after the commencement of the decree, acted or attempted to bring hatred or contempt or disaffection against the government, or any other institution or authority of the government.

The Prime Minister can also stop the pensions and other entitlements of those who undermine the government, or in any way, to prejudice the orderly functioning or operation of the government, promote or incite feelings of ill-will and hostility amongst the different classes of population in Fiji, bring hatred or contempt or disaffection against the administration of justice or the judiciary, undermine the administration of justice or the judiciary, or, in any way, to prejudice the orderly functioning or operation of the judiciary or incite communal antagonism or racial discontent or disaffection amongst the inhabitants of Fiji or against the government, or any institution or authority of the government.

Before making any order, the Prime Minister shall write to the person concerned and invite that person to show cause as to why any pension or other entitlements in relation to that person should not be ceased.

The new decree also states that the Prime Minister may suspend the entitlements of any of the persons receiving government pension pending compliance by the person to the sections of the decree.

The decree also states that the matter cannot be challenged in any court, tribunal, commission or any other judicial body.

Under the Parliamentary Retirement Allowances Decree 1989, the Prime Minister's Pensions Act 1994, the Judges Remuneration and Emoluments Act and the Pensions Act, former Prime Ministers excluding Laisenia Qarase, former ministers, parliamentarians, senators, former judges and senior civil servants are receiving government pensions.

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