New Zealand based Fijian citizen, Shalendra G Raju says he has the Security Camera Footage of Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama physically assaulting Opposition MP Pio Tikoduadua and he will release the footage by Friday if the Speaker does not take any actions again the Prime Minister.
In a email to the Speaker of Fijian Parliament, he has urged the Speaker to take actions by Friday or he will “by the end of the week, (I will) exercise his (my) citizen’s rights most reluctantly to release the security Camera Footage in full to the public.”
Below it the text of the email sent to the Speaker of the House:
The Hon. Ratu Epeli I Nailatikau CF, LVO, OBE, MSD, KStJ
(Na Turaga Mai Naisogolaca)
Re: Appeal to Act to Preserve Sanctity of Parliament : Conduct of the Prime Minister – Assault & Abuse Matter – Hon Pio Tikoduadua
Dear Hon Speaker,
I come to you most humbly as a Fijian Citizen, in your capacity as the Hon. Speaker of our most noble House of Parliament, in respect to the egregious physical assault, swearing at his mother and father, intimidation and threat made against the Honourable Member of Parliament, Hon Pio Tikoduadua by the Hon Prime Minister of the Republic of Fiji, Hon Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama CF, MSD, OStJ. It has also been revealed that the Hon Prime Minister caused damage to the Hon Member’s property, namely his spectacles.
I wish to let you know that I have in my possession and seen the Security Camera footage filmed in the precincts of the Parliament of the Republic of Fiji, of the aforesaid assaults and verbal abuse. I note that you had requested to view the footage yourself after Hon Pio Tikoduadua had reported the incident to you. You must have, by now, viewed and reviewed the footage.
I also note that there were several witnesses to the unimaginable and unprecedented event. One of the witnesses to this event was another Honourable Member of Parliament, Hon Lenora Qereqeretabua who has gone on public record to relay what she had witnessed. I am certain that you must have also noted the report of Hon Qereqeretabua, and possibly also sought and taken note of the Hon Members account of the event.
I understand that Hon Ratu Suliano Matanitobua has also given his statement to the police confirming the verbal abuse and toxic language used by the Prime Minister. The profanities were excessively gross and corrosive according to the two witnesses who are members of parliament and have no reason to lie.
My viewing of the Security Camera Footage has confirmed the allegations of egregious attack in all its aspects, as alleged by the Hon Pio Tikoduadua. I would have no doubt that you might have come to the same conclusion after viewing the footage, thus confirming that there is indeed clear evidence that the alleged attacks did take place in the precincts of the Fijian Parliament.
Furthermore, The Prime Minister has publicly given his version of events that he spoke sternly to Mr Tikoduadua but did not threaten or physically assault him. He has also said that Mr Tikoduadua squeezed and broke his own spectacles. The Attorney General, Hon Aiyaz Syed-Khaiyum confirmed Hon PM’s allegations.
These are serious counter claims by Members of Parliament to the public about what happened or may not have happened in the precincts of the Parliament. Apart from alleged physical assault and other verbal abuse, including intimidation and threatening language, the Hon PM has also accused Hon Pio Tikoduadua of telling lies concerning the assault, the most serious allegations that can be made against any Parliamentarian. Again, Sir, you would have already tested the verification of this through the camera footage.
I was very disappointed to read earlier that you had, at first, allegedly said that you were not interested to know the account of the events as it had occurred outside the Parliamentary precincts but later relented and asked for the Security Camera Footage. I also note from the Media that you have now said that the Matter has been reported to the Police and that you cannot further review the allegations against the Prime Minister and that you will need to await the outcome of the Police investigations.
As a Citizen, l wish to note that the Constitution of Fiji 2013 provides that the Speaker of the Parliament “serves to secure the dignity of Parliament”; that the Speaker “has the authority to maintain order and decorum in Parliament… in accordance with parliamentary traditions”; and the Speaker “must act impartially, and without fear, favour or prejudice”. In other words, the sanctity of the Parliament is supreme. This is to ensure that the public will have full confidence in their Parliament, the cornerstone of our Democracy. Thus, the public has the legitimate expectation that each Member of Parliament would behave in way that meets public expectations. This applies equally to any Member of Parliament, be they the Prime Minister, a Minister, the Leader of the Opposition, a shadow Minister or a backbencher.
I would have thought that you have full jurisdiction over the Parliamentary precincts and that you would not need to depend on any Police investigations into any criminal activities by the Hon Prime Minister in the precincts of Parliament. A lesser burden of proof than for a criminal activity, is required by the Speaker to act under his own authority is such serious circumstances to uphold the integrity, dignity, and the confidence of Parliament for the people of Fiji.
I urge you, Sir, and in due deference to you, to reflect on the Security Camera footage and the witness statements before you. Let us, at this juncture of our troubled history, hear from the highest Office in Parliament, from the Hon Speaker what is unacceptable behaviour and what brings disrepute the our House of Parliament and make a ruling on this case for posterity The Nation waits for a ruling from you and it also expects you to release the Camera Footage which is now in your possession. You have enough precedents of the Fijian Parliament to fall on in terms of sanction. In this, I refer to the sanctions imposed on na Turaga Bale na Tui Cakau, Ratu Naiqama Tawake Lalabalavu, a Fijian Paramount Chief, the then President of the Social Democratic Liberal Party and a member of Parliament and on the then National Federation Party President and a Member of Parliament Tupou Draunidalo during the last Parliament.
I wish to let you know, Sir, that if a decision of the Speaker is not forthcoming or tardy on the erratic behaviour of the Hon Prime Minister and subsequent misleading utterances of the Hon Attorney General, the first law officer of the Republic by the end of the week, I will exercise my citizen’s rights most reluctantly to release the security Camera Footage in full to the public.
Sir, I come to you not only in your capacity as a Speaker but also as an eminent citizen of Fiji, having occupied the highest position in our Republic, position of His Excellency the President of the Republic of Fiji. I also appeal to you in your capacity as a High Fijian Chief. And lastly, I appeal to you, as the bearer of the standards and heritage of the founders of our Nation, the late Ratu Sir kamisese Mara, Ratu Sir George Cakobau, Ratu Sir Edward Cakobau and Ratu Sir Penaia Ganilau.
I send you the assurances of my highest regard for your Office of the Hon Speaker.
I remain your most obedient servant,
Shailendra G Raju