Friday, 9 January 2009 4:27 PM

AG Office Explains Parliament Decision on Sir Allan's Seat

The Office of the Attorney General says the resolution passed by Parliament to extend the vacancy of Sir Kemakeza's seat in Parliament is proper.

This follows critics from the general public when the decision was made known through the media.

Attorney General, Gabriel Suri, said it is necessary for the public to know that Parliament was exercising its power vested upon it by section 51(1).

Mr. Suri said that section 51(1) expressly states that parliament can exercise such power for purpose of enabling a member to pursue any appeal in respect of his conviction and sentence.

"The motion moved by the prime minister was exactly for this purpose. The precedent is, therefore, set by the constitution itself, and not by the motion moved by the prime minister," he said.

He adds that the Speaker of Parliament too have the constitutional power under section 51(1) to extend the vacancy of a members seat to a period not exceeding, in aggregate, 150 days.

He said the power of the Speaker is exercisable also for the same purpose, and this includes enabling a member to pursue any appeal in respect of his convictions or sentence.

"The parliament exercised its power only after extensions granted by the Speaker reached the 150 aggregate days," he adds.

Mr. Suri told Solomon Times that the resolution passed in parliament has no weight or effect on the appeal lodged by Sir Allan or the Director of Public Prosecutions.

The differentiation between judicial power and the Parliamentary power is well defined in the constitution, he said, and the Parliament has rightly exercised its constitutional power.

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