‘Court has no power to question minister’s order’ – SG

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Daniel Kim been escorted to the Lautoka High Court yesterday. Picture: BALJEET SINGH

The High Court has no power to question Immigration Minister Pio Tikoduadua’s order to have Grace Road president Daniel Kim removed from Fiji.

This was the main argument of Solicitor General Ropate Lomavatu while responding to an application made by Mr Kim’s defence lawyers for the High Court to step in and stop the order from being executed.

Appearing before Justice Lyone Seneviratne yesterday, Mr Lomavatu said Section 13 (ii) (g) of the Immigration Act excluded the Court from questioning the decision of the Minister for Immigration.

According to Section 13(ii) (g), a prohibited immigrant, was a person who prior to or after entry into the Fiji Islands, as a result of information received from any country through official or diplomatic channels, or from any other source the minister considers reliable, is deemed by the minister to be a person who is or has been conducting himself in a manner prejudicial to the peace, defence, public safety, public order, public morality, public health, security or good government of the Fiji Islands.

Mr Lomavatu said this provision also meant that the decision made by the minister could not be challenged in Court.

Mr Lomavatu said Mr Kim’s Habeas Corpus application was clearly an attempt by the Grace Road president to seek relief from Court and in turn questioned the decision of the minister.

He said that in the end, the decision made by Mr Tikoduadua was not dismissible.

In response, Mr Kim’s defence lawyer Simon Ower said while Fiji’s Immigration Act gave powers to the Immigration Minister to remove any individual from the country, these decisions should be done so within certain boundaries.

Mr Ower said there were limitations to these powers that must be considered so as not to take away the rights of an innocent man.

He said they accepted the concerns of the State in relation to their client’s detainment, however, they were willing to work with Government on the issue.

Mr Ower added that they were also willing to work with the Immigration Department on setting bail conditions for Mr Kim during the court proceedings.

Justice Seneviratne refused the bail application made by the defence lawyers, however, he agreed to extend Mr Kim’s request for a stay on the order for his removal.

The case has been adjourned to October 27.

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