Thursday, 5 July 2007 3:26 PM

Cabinet Not Consulted in Sacking, Sources Revealed

It has been revealed that the Prime Minister did not consult Cabinet over his decision to order the sacking of the country's legal draftsman, Ranjit Hewagama.

Sources close to Cabinet revealed that the matter was never discussed in Cabinet before the Prime Minister directed the Public Service Department ((PSD) in writing to terminate Hewagama's contract with immediate effect.

Mr. Ranjit Hewagama confirmed that he has now received the termination letter from the PSD but would not reveal the details of the letter or whether or not he would mount a legal challenge against the manner in which he was terminated.

Several lawyers interviewed stated that their understanding of the normal procedure in such case, even if one is an expatriate judicial officer on contract, he would still have to be appointed by the Judicial and Legal Services Commission (JLSC). Only the Commission, therefore, has the power to terminate the appointment of a judicial officer of the Government.

One of the lawyers explained that if Mr. Ranjit resisted the Prime Minister's directive for the revocation of his contract, the right procedure is for the Public Service Department to make a formal submission seeking the JLSC to terminate Mr. Ranjit's appointment. However, as a matter of formality even if Mr. Ranjit chose not to resist the termination of his contract and appointment, the PSD would still have to make a submission to the JLSC.

Mr. Ranjit yesterday confirmed having received the letter of termination from the Public Service Department but would not discuss the details of the letter or whether or not he would resist the directive until the matter is decided upon by the JLSC. It is understood that neither the Public Service Commission (PSC) nor the JLSC received any submission from the Public Service Department (PSD) regarding Hewagama's termination.

The Vice President of the Solomon Islands Bar Association, Jean Gordon, would not comment on the matter until after the Bar Association Executive meets and discusses the matter.

Meanwhile, all the sources interviewed believe that the Prime Minister's decision to order the termination of Mr. Ranjit was directly connected to the Julian Moti issue.

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