High Court hears NFP suspension case

By: Sofaia Koroitanoa

 

NFP 1The case regarding the National Federation Party being suspended earlier this year was heard in the Suva High court today.

The Party is challenging the Registrar of Political parties findings that NFP was in breach of the Political Parties Decree.

In February, NFP was suspended after the Registrar of Political Parties Mohammed Saneem stated the auditors of the NFP accounts were not certified by the Fiji Institute of Accountants.

Lawyer Seema Chand from the AG Chambers representing the Registrar of Political parties, Mohammed Saneem made an application to strike out the case.

Chand told the court the appeal has no reasonable course of action.

Chand said the case is scandalous, frivolous and is an abuse of the court’s process.

The lawyer from the AG’s Chambers highlighted the breach of the Political Parties Decree by the Party by not having an auditor with a Certificate of Public Practice which is a statutory provision.

Chand also argued that the Party still continues to operate and holds itself out as a party, saying there really is no case.

However Munro Leys lawyer representing NFP Jon Apted argued, the suspension of NFP was not necessary and was disproportionate to the breach.

This Apted said resulted in 27,000 voters of the NFP not being represented in Parliament and its committees during the suspension period.

Apted said the decree did not specify the qualification of an auditor.

He added the issue regarding the auditors qualification was a matter for the Fiji Institute of Accountants and not the party.

Apted asked High Court Judge Justice Lyone Seneviratne to allow the rights of the party to raise their issues for due consideration.

He said the strike out application delays the hearing of the case and is a waste of the courts time.

The ruling will be made on the 23rd of next month.

NFP was suspended in February for 30 days to allow compliance with the law.

The suspension was lifted after 18 days after the Party complied with the Decree.

 

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