Lawyer Draunidalo replaces Aiyaz as COC appointee in Fiji controversy

Fiji opposition leader Voreqe Bainimarama
Fiji opposition leader Voreqe Bainimarama getting out of his vehicle on his way to attend the Constitutional Offices Commission (COC) meeting at Suvavou House today. Image: Atu Rasea /The Fiji Times

By Shayal Devi in Suva

Lawyer Tupou Draunidalo has replaced former attorney-general Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum as the opposition leader’s appointee to Fiji’s Constitutional Offices Commission (COC).

She was seen entering Suvavou House today where a meeting of the COC was being held.

Opposition leader Voreqe Bainimarama had earlier nominated Sayed-Khaiyum to the position. However, this was retracted after the appointment was deemed unconstitutional and in breach of the Political Parties Act.

Her appointment was later confirmed to the media by Attorney-General Siromi Turaga outside Suvavou House in Suva.

He said Draunidalo had been appointed by the opposition and the government appointed Cema Bolabola to replace Tanya Waqanika of Sodelpa.

The meeting today was attended by Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka, Suva lawyer Jon Apted and Bainimarama.

Meanwhile, National Federation Party general secretary Seni Nabou claimed Sayed-Khaiyum had fallen into a trap under the very Constitution that he wrote, reports The Fiji Times.

In a statement, she said Bainimarama had resorted to “bullying and threats” because he was frustrated that things were not going his way.

“Frank Bainimarama appointed Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum to the Constitutional Offices Commission (COC),” Nabou said.

‘Out he went’
“Aiyaz forgot that this disqualified him as a parliamentarian. So out he went.

“Then FFP said this was a strategy for Aiyaz to work ‘outside Parliament’.

“But Aiyaz again forgot the law. As a public officer he could not be secretary of FijiFirst. So now FFP changes course again.

“Now Aiyaz will leave the COC.

“This is the quality of legal advice the Fiji government rested on for 16 years. And this is one reason why Fiji is in such a mess now.”

Shayal Devi is a Fiji Times reporter. Republished with permission.

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