Former Fijian parliamentarian Salote Radrodro will be sentenced tomorrow after the Anti-Corruption Division of the high court in Suva dismissed a motion that was filed to quash her information.
Through her lawyer, Ms Radrodro submitted that the anti-corruption division of the high court has no power to try the information she was charged with and convict her, on the basis that she was immune from legal proceedings as a member of parliament as per Parliamentary Powers and Privileges Act 1985. She also reasoned that both offenses in the information were summary offenses triable in the magistrates’ court anti-corruption division as per Section 4(1) (c ) of the Criminal Procedure Act 2009.
In delivering his ruling, Justice Dr Thusara Kumarage stated once it has been established that a crime has been committed, the same law should apply regardless of the offender’s social status.
“As this court sees, the expectation from this court by the information filed is to determine whether a crime has been committed under the Crimes Act 2009 by a parliamentarian in providing false information to the Secretary General of Parliament and whether thereby, Salote Radrodro, squandered ordinary taxpayers’ money of this country.
“In any event, if a crime has been committed by a parliamentarian or a farmer, as per the basic principles of Rule of Law, the same law should apply. There is no special law to determine the criminality of conduct of parliamentarians in any jurisdiction.” Justice Kumarage further ordered Mrs Radrodro to pay $2,500. It was of the view that the application was filed without any reasonable argument and as such an attempt by Mrs Radrodro to delay “the final step in the substantive matter pending in…court.”