Postdate: 26/ 02/ 2003
(Published on the Fiji Times 26/02/03)
The Citizens Constitutional Forum has called on the Government to hurry up and introduce the Code of Conduct Bill in Parliament. CCF executive Jone Dakuvula reiterated the sentiments of the Opposition members of Parliament yesterday with regards to the Bills. “Saying there are a lot of policy issues involved and more consultation needed is a lame excuse, “ Mr Dakuvula said. “The first step is to introduce the Bills in Parliament. From there they will go to the legislative committee who will look at its complexity and ask for public submissions on it.” Mr Dakuvula said despite writing several letters of inquiry they had yet to hear from the Government on the progress of the formulation of the two Bills. While the Code of Conduct Bill governs the manner in which holders of public office conduct themselves , the Freedom on Information Bill goes members of the public the fight to access information into the interests and commercial dealings of such high ranking officers. “Both the Bills had been drafted back in 19999 and the Freedom of Information Bill had also been circulated. They are accountability Bills, ‘ Mr Dakuvula said. “Their introduction ought to be of a priority to the Governemt. Yet we see other non-legislative Bills being introduced beforehand.” Mr Dakuvula said prominent members of the international community like the Commonwealth Secretariat and the European Union have wondered about the Bills implementation in accordance with Constitutional requirements.