NFP tells AG to Step Aside
Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum must step aside from his multiple Ministerial positions to allow a full investigation by the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption of the installation of a Fiji First Party banner on the walls of the Suva City Council car park and the curio handicraft centre.
He is the general secretary and registered officer of the Fiji First Party. He authorised the installation of a huge, custom-designed banner on a public building. His party claims this was “inadvertent”. How can that be true?
This was not just a case of somebody fixing a poster to a lamp post. A huge amount of work went into designing this banner and arranging for it to be installed, even though this was a blatant breach of the Electoral Act. If any other party had done this, prosecution would have followed immediately.
The Fiji First Party knew that the Suva City Council car park was not a designated public building for political advertisements. The Fiji Elections Office clearly told all political parties, on 4 August 2022, which public buildings had been designated as such.
NFP has today lodged a formal complaint with FICAC about this breach of the Electoral Act. The Supervisor of Elections may have given time to FijiFirst to remove the banner but an offence has been committed. It must be investigated.
After all, other opposition parties have had their offices raided by FICAC and their members questioned. Why would it be different for Fiji First?
Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum is the Minister responsible for elections. He is the Minister for Economy and the Minister responsible for FICAC.
He controls FICAC’s budget and other interactions with the Government of Fiji. He must therefore avoid any possibility of bias in his favour or the perception of bias in his favour by FICAC. He must step away from any official position which could be seen to influence FICAC in its investigation role.
Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum lectures all of us frequently about transparency and accountability and the importance of following the law. Others are sent on leave or dismissed when allegations are made against them.
So he should show that he can lead by example and step aside. Or is there one rule for him and one rule for everybody else?
Seni Nabou General Secretary