The Commerce Commission has today confirmed that it will not make any determinations relating to political parties in the country as it does not have the jurisdiction to do this.
The National Federation Party, Social Democratic and Liberal Party and the now suspended Fiji Labour Party had written to the commission asking for a determination as they said that they were facing excessive charges for the publication of their declaration of assets and liabilities.
SODELPA was billed $26,000 by the Registrar of Political Parties, Mohammed Saneem for the publishing of the declaration in the Fiji Sun a few weeks ago.
NFP was billed $5,796 while the suspended FLP was asked to pay $6375.60.
Commerce Commission Chairman Doctor Mahendra Reddy said the Political Parties Decree deals with all these matters and the person the parties should deal with is the Registrar of Political Parties.
However, Doctor Reddy said the commission just conducted an exercise to check if the parties were charged excessive rates.
NFP President, Raman Pratap Singh said they maintain that tenders should have been called and the parties were not even approached to negotiate the rates as they had to pay for the charges, not the Registrar.
SODELPA’s General Secretary, Pio Tabaiwalu also said there should have been consultations on the rates.
Although they have paid the $26,000, SODELPA will have a management board meeting and reply to the commission.
Story by: Vijay Narayan