Labour queries pension payment to convicted VP

  • 1st December 2004
  • 2004
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The Labour Party has criticised government’s decision to pay a pension to Seniloli convicted of a serious criminal activity.

Fiji’s convicted Vice President, Ratu Jope Seniloli, has resigned from office.

“Non-contributory pensions are withheld from civil servants who are found guilty of serious criminal offences,” parliamentary leader Mahendra Chaudhry said.   

Government announced that Seniloli who resigned from the vice presidency as part of a deal granting him the CSO, will receive 30% of his salary as pension. 

Seniloli was  released from prison last Friday on a special ministerial order after serving less than four months of a four-year sentence for his conviction on coup-related offences.

According to reports, the resignation followed a day of meetings between President Iloilo, Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase and Seniloli. The army  has described Seniloli’s  early release from prison as a threat to national security.

In a statement, the Prime Minister’s Office said Seniloli’s resignation was effective from last Friday, the day Seniloli decided not to appeal his conviction and four-year sentence in the Supreme Court, and he was released on compulsory supervision order.

The statement says after his resignation, Seniloli is entitled to a vice presidential pension from last Saturday, at 30 percent of his salary because he has served more than three years in the office.

Labour also wants the government to rescind the Compulsory Supervision Order under which Seniloli was released and send him back to prison.

Labour President Ms. Jokapeci Koroi said it was a sad day for the country when the government had to succumb to criminals.

On Attorney General Qoriniasi Bale’s decision to release Seniloli on medical grounds, Koroi says Labour has been informed that Seniloli does not suffer from any acute illness.

Mrs Koroi says Seniloli only has hypertension, which is a common problem in Fiji and is also controllable.

Mrs Koroi is asking whether all other prisoners with similar health problems will be accorded the same privilege.