SODELPA and NFP has shocked the court, the Supervisor of Elections and the 28 Fiji First respondents this evening after announcing that they will withdraw their electoral petition.
SODELPA and NFP has withdrawn their elections petition against the FIJIFIRST Party and the Supervisor of Elections because their case is too weak.
The entire case was based on the testimony of the 8 witnesses that the petitioners intended to call, to support their allegations against the 27 MPS, SOE and Faiyaz Koya, but because only 2 were allowed to appear in court, this weakened their case.
The hearing was supposed to take place tomorrow morning.
The ruling was given by Justice Anjala Wati and Justice Kamal Kumar when the lawyers for the SODELPA and NFP leaders informed the court, that they intend to call 8 witnesses to give their oral evidence.
Filimoni Vosarago’s list of 8 witnesses were: Sitiveni Rabuka, Seni Nabou, Subrail Narayan, Kamal Iyer, Adi Litia Qionibaravi, Emele Duituturaga, Merewalesi Vitukawalu and Asivorosi Rabuka.
However, the Court only allowed Asivorosi Rabuka and Emele Duituturaga to be called in as witnesses.
The court refused to allow the other 6 to be witnesses because majority of them have vested interest in the proceedings as some are currently members of parliament or were candidates in the 2018 general elections but did not make it to Parliament.
The matter was adjourned three times today before the final call by SODELPA and NFP was made.
The Lawyer for FIJIFIRST Davenesh Sharma opposed Vosarogo’s application for oral evidence this morning and he questioned why the other candidates, aside from Rabuka and Prasad, are jumping on the band wagon and did not file their petition if they felt they were aggrieved.
Sharma added that they have answered the particulars in the petition and if this is allowed, then they will be caught in an ambush.
The Solicitor General Sharvada Sharma who represents the Supervisor of Elections, said the court has only eleven days to decide on three petitions.
The petition was about issues regarding the conduct, counting and tallying of results in the 2018 General Election.
Meanwhile ShaRvada Sharma had informed the court that the Supervisor of Elections had already prepared a 600 page response to the allegations that SODELPA and NFP put against him.
The court has ordered SODELPA and NFP to pay Fiji First’ lawyer Davenesh Sharma $7 500 and the Supervisor of Elections with $7 000 as indemnity costs.
As for the remaining two petitions, the Court is still discussing with the lawyers of Satish Kumar and Jone Davuka on whether the planned hearing will still take place on Saturday.