The Opposition-nominated chair of the Fiji Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee says criticism of his chairmanship by Government MPs is frivolous.
After the first meeting of the committee was deferred yesterday, Dr Biman Prasad, who heads the opposition National Federation Party, says the Government MPs are unhappy at comments he has been making concerning the series of recently-released Auditor-General’s reports.
“It’s simply because the government members have raised an issue of me being the chair of the committee and the basis of that objection is on some of the comments I have made to the media before, and they feel that I should not have made those comments,” Dr Prasad said.
He rejects the government MPs’ claims that his comments on the reports are unjustified.
Dr Prasad says the reports are public property and already in the public domain.
“And the media has been picking up issues from those reports, highlighting what the auditor general has specifically stated. My comments only relate to the processes and how the Public Accounts Committee was all set up and geared towards scrutinising those reports and the plans that we had,” he said.
Dr Prasad says the Public Accounts Committee is the only one that under parliamentary standing orders is chaired by an opposition MP.
“I have been nominated by the Leader of the Opposition and the honourable leader has just issued a statement saying that the Opposition stands by the nomination. But I also want to reject the insinuation and the assertion by the Government members that the comments I made to the media were unjustified. In fact the Auditor-General’s report are public property, for the public and is already in the public domain, its on the website of the Auditor-General(’s Office),” he said.
Dr Prasad said it was important that the committee started work as soon as possible.
“ … the committee has a lot of work to do we are going to look at reports from 2007 right up to 2013 – these reports were not released in the last eight years and it is absolutely important that the committee begin it’s work as soon as possible,” he said.