Opposition MP’s claims ‘will not’ go to the Privileges Committee

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Speaker of Parliament, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu raises an issue in Parliament during the September 2023 Parliament sitting. Picture: PARLIAMENT OF FIJI/FILE

Parliament Speaker Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu says he has reviewed the evidence by Opposition MP Parveen Kumar and ruled that the matter would not be referred to the Privileges Committee.

In Parliament on Monday, Ratu Naiqama confirmed receiving evidence from Mr Kumar on the claims he made against Finance Minister Prof Biman Prasad.

The matter was in relation to claims Mr Kumar made about NFP leader Prof Biman Prasad during the July parliamentary sitting, allegedly saying they would increase the sugarcane price to $110 per tonne if elected into government.

“I’m satisfied that the evidence is sufficient to support the statement he made in the house,” Ratu Naiqama said.

“And therefore, I hereby rule that the matter will not be referred to the Privileges Committee.”

The Speaker said he had sought a legal opinion on the parliamentary breach by Mr Kumar, which he said was raised by Assistant Minister Sashi Kiran.

He said he would deliver his ruling on the matter on a later date.

Ratu Lalabalavu said he also received an official notification from Opposition MP Ketan Lal on a matter of privilege against Sugar and Multi-Ethnic Affairs Minister Charan Jeath Singh.

This was in relation to Mr Singh’s comment when responding to a question on Monday when he referred to Mr Lal as a “bloody small kid”.

Ratu Naiqama said he went through the Hansard report and ordered Mr Singh to withdraw the words.

Mr Singh complied.

He also ruled the matter would not be referred to the Privileges Committee.

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