Fiji’s Constitutional Offices Commission (COC) met in person today, their first since January, and passed a number of resolutions, including appointing Barbara Malimali as temporary Electoral Commissioner chairperson until a permanent appointment is made.
The COC also recommended Reginald Jokhan and four undisclosed individuals to fill vacant seats on the EC. The appointments by President Ratu Wiliame Katonivere will be confirmed later, bringing the total EC members to seven, including Ateca Ledua.
Nomination for Permanent Chairperson
The COC also discussed the process for selecting a permanent chairperson for the EC. They will submit their nomination within the next seven days, by July 14. The COC will reconvene on July 28 to consider and finalise their selection for the chairperson position.
Tribunal to Deliberate on Allegations Against the Suspended Commissioner of Police
Another important decision made by the COC was to appoint a tribunal to investigate allegations of misbehavior, as per section 137 (3a1) of the 2013 Constitution, against the suspended Commissioner of Police Sitiveni Qiliho. Terms of reference will be drafted to guide the tribunal. Members of the tribunal should hold or are qualified to hold the office of a judge.
The commission acknowledged the need to draft standard operating procedures (SOPs) to formalise constitutional provisions and conventions, with a view to establishing clear guidelines for current and future members of the commission.
Former and Acting Supervisor of Elections Allowance And Appointment of SOE
The commission resolved to pay former SOE Mohammed Saneem, in accordance with his contract dated February 16, 2021, as per the allowances and entitlements specified. Similarly, the acting supervisor of the election Ana Mataiciwa will receive compensation as outlined in the same contract.
Furthermore, the commission approved the drafting of an advertisement for the position of SOE. Within the next seven days, this draft will be circulated, inviting qualified candidates to apply. Subsequently, the commission will review the recommendations and deliberate on July 28, aiming to finalise the appointment of the Supervisor of Election.
Fiji Corrections Service Commissioner Vacancy and Allowances of Former Corrections Commissioner
The commission’s agenda also included matters related to the commissioner of Fiji’s Corrections Services. Resolutions were passed to pay former Corrections Commissioner Francis Kean’s outstanding entitlements, provided in his contract dated 27 September 2021.
The filling of the vacant corrections commissioner’s post was also considered with the COC resolving to advertise.
Filling of Vacant Auditor General Position
The COC also discussed the application process for the position of Auditor General which entailed the appointment of an independent selection panel. The panel members were nominated, with Kameli Batiweti appointed as the panel’s chair, alongside Susie Waqanibaravi and Jenny Setto.