Crisis within FijiFirst relating to the termination of 17 MPs who voted for salary increases

Crisis within FijiFirst relating to the termination of 17 MPs who voted for salary increases

By fijivillage
Tuesday 11/06/2024
[Image: File]

A crisis has erupted within the FijiFirst party relating to the termination of 17 members of parliament who supported the government's motion to increase the salaries of ministers and MPs.


26 MPs will not save FijiFirst as it has pending debts to be cleared

FijiFirst has a net liability position of $701,180
By Vijay Narayan
Tuesday 11/06/2024
FijiFirst office in Suva

The FijiFirst Party is highly likely to be deregistered after June 28th this year as the 26 party MPs will not make any attempts to keep the party alive that won the 2014 and 2018 general elections.

It is clear that after all the office bearers including Voreqe Bainimarama and Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum resigned from the party yesterday, anyone who even tries to keep the party going will inherit a significant amount of unpaid debts.

According to the party’s audited financial accounts as at 31st December 2023 assessed by fijivillage News, the FijiFirst had a net liability position of $701,180 and a working capital deficiency of $855,938.

The financial report stated the party was also negotiating with certain suppliers for further time for settlement of overdue balances, and the party was confident that extended time at normal commercial terms will be allowed by the suppliers.

The auditors said based on these assumptions together with the support from the party workers and party supporters, the Central Executive Committee and management had concluded that the going concern basis of accounting remained appropriate for the preparation of these financial accounts.

Their operating expenses as at 31st December 2022 was $4.222 million compared to $380,057 in 2023.

The party’s net deficit is $701,680 as at the end of 2023 compared to a net deficit of $1.02 million in 2022. According to the financial position of the FijiFirst, the current liabilities listed as Trade and Other Payables stand at $907,664 at the end of last year and the total liabilities is $910,422. The total party funds deficit is $701,680 as at the end of 2023.

The recorded net surplus amounted to $323,864 for the year ended 31st December 2023 compared to a net deficit of $1.656 million in 2022.

Cash on hand and at bank balance as at 31st December 2023 was $22,583, and net liabilities was $701,180 compared to the net assets of $1.025 million in 2022.

The audit states the Central Executive Committee and management are responsible for the preparation and fair presentation of the financial statements in accordance with the requirements of the Political Parties (Registration, Conduct, Funding and Disclosures) Act 2013, and for such internal control as the directors determine is necessary to enable the preparation of financial statements that are free from material misstatement, whether due to fraud or error.

It says in preparing the financial statements, the Central Executive Committee and management were responsible for assessing the party's ability to continue as a going concern, disclosing, as applicable, matters related to going concern and using the going concern basis of accounting.

The Central Executive Committee and management were responsible for overseeing the party's financial reporting process.

The Central Executive Committee was made up of former Leader Voreqe Bainimarama, former President Ratu Joji Satakala, former Acting General Secretary Faiyaz Koya and former Treasurer Hem Chand. They all resigned yesterday. Koya and Chand have resigned from the positions but not from the party.

Registrar of Parties, Ana Mataiciwa has confirmed to fijivillage News that if a party is deregistered, the MPs remain in parliament as independents and do not lose their seats.




18 FijiFirst MPs meet, Bulitavu calls on Koya to resign

Koya will be responsible for the demise of FijiFirst - Bulitavu
By Vijay Narayan
Tuesday 11/06/2024
FijiFirst MP, Mosese Bulitavu and FijiFirst MPs, Faiyaz Koya

Interesting times lie ahead as part of the 18 FijiFirst parliamentarians led by Opposition Leader, Inia Seruiratu met this afternoon to decide on their next step after the resignation of all the FijiFirst party office bearers yesterday.

Former foundation member, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says it is now up to the Registrar of Political Parties and the MPs on what they will do as they have resigned.

FijiFirst MPs, Faiyaz Koya, Premila Kumar, Parveen Bala, Hem Chand, Ketan Lal, Rinesh Sharma, Viam Pillay and Joseph Nand are not part of the 18.

FijiFirst MP, Mosese Bulitavu who is part of the 18 MPs to meet today, says party MP, Faiyaz Koya should resign as an MP given he was the messenger of the unlawful directive to the FijiFirst Caucus.

Bulitavu says Koya also ridiculed the Speaker publicly by allowing the confidential correspondence by the Speaker to be posted on the FijiFirst Facebook page together with his reply to the Speaker's letter.

He says when former Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama attended court, Koya was the one who took the invalid termination letter to be signed and he should be responsible for implicating him more.

Bulitavu says Koya co-signed the letter to notify the Speaker on the vacation of the parliamentary seats of the 17 MPs.

Bulitavu adds Koya will be responsible for the demise of FijiFirst as being the party’s registered officer who couldn't rectify the breaches the Registrar of Political Parties had given notice on.

We have been trying to get comments from Koya. He has not been making any comments.

Seruiratu was not in the meeting as he is away overseas.

FijiFirst MP, Jone Usamate just said that they are waiting for the process and will not make further comments.




FijiFirst has no office bearers after resignations

Party given until 4pm 28th June 2024 to amend the constitution - SOE
By Vijay Narayan
Tuesday 11/06/2024

Although the FijiFirst Party no longer has any office bearers, Registrar of Political Parties, Ana Mataiciwa reiterates that under the Political Parties (Registration, Conduct, Funding and Disclosures) Act, she does not have any intervening powers to the filling of positions in a party or overall management of affairs.

Mataiciwa says she will only intervene if a party has breached the Act.

She maintains that the notice issued to the FijiFirst Party on 30th May 2024, giving the party until 4pm on 28th June 2024 to amend their constitution, still stands.

Mataiciwa confirms receiving resignation letters from some FijiFirst party members and office holders yesterday.

She confirms that Voreqe Bainimarama has resigned as the founding member, Leader and Member of FijiFirst, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has resigned as Foundation Member and Member of the party, Ratu Joji Satakala has resigned as President and Member, Selai Adimaitoga has finished off as Vice President and Member, Ravindran Kumaran as Vice President and Member, Shailesh Kumar as Foundation Member and Member, Faiyaz Koya as Acting General Secretary and Registered Officer of the party and Hem Chand as Acting Treasurer of the FijiFirst.

Mataiciwa says further questions relating to the party must be addressed to the FijiFirst who under the law have the liberty to function themselves according to their party constitution without interference from the Registrar. We have contacted the Leader of the Opposition, Inia Seruiratu. He is yet to respond.



Bainimarama, Sayed-Khaiyum others resign from FijiFirst

Koya and Chand resign from their party office positions
By Rashika Kumar, Vijay Narayan
Monday 10/06/2024
[L-R] Former FijiFirst Leader Voreqe Bainimarama, Former FijiFirst GS Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, , Former Acting GS Faiyaz Koya and Acting General Secretary Faiyaz Koya and Treasurer Hem Chand

FijiFirst founding member and leader Voreqe Bainimarama, founding members Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and Salesh Kumar, party President Ratu Joji Satalaka, Vice President Selai Adimaitoga, Acting General Secretary Faiyaz Koya and Treasurer Hem Chand have resigned from their positions.

Sayed-Khaiyum says the other Vice President Ravindran Nair has also resigned.

He says the resignation letters were given to the Registrar of Political Parties on Friday.

Sayed-Khaiyum says what happens to the party now is the decision of the Registrar of Political Parties.

Those who have resigned from the FijiFirst Party are Bainimarama, Sayed-Khaiyum, Kumar, Satakala and Adimaitoga.

He says Koya and Chand will remain Members of Parliament.

While explaining the decision, Sayed-Khaiyum says the Leader and the Acting General Secretary, sent a letter to the Speaker informing him about the directives that were issued by the party that were not followed by the 17 MPs and on the same evening, the Supervisor of Elections started sending out messages or letters to the FijiFirst General Secretary about the deregistration of the party.

He says FICAC kicked into action where the FijiFirst party’s office, Koya’s house, his house and office law firm’s office were searched last week.

Sayed-Khaiyum says Bainimarama was questioned as to how or when he signed a letter in prison.

He says they believe the 17 that supported the pay rise will carry on supporting those type of policies and those who have resigned cannot be a part of that.

While addressing the 17 MPs, he says it is quite sad that having aligned themselves with a leader like Bainimarama and FijiFirst, they did not specifically adhere to the values and principles that have been laid out in the FijiFirst Constitution.

We have sent questions to Supervisor of Elections, Ana Mataiciwa. She is yet to respond.



FijiFirst chaos continues, Speaker to seek legal advice on the 17

Sayed-Khaiyum and Koya remain tightlipped
By Vijay Narayan
Wednesday 05/06/2024
FijiFirst MP, Jone Usamate, Speaker of Parliament, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu

Speaker of Parliament, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu has written to the 17 FijiFirst MPs advising that Ratu Naiqama has decided to seek legal advice after he received a letter from the FijiFirst last week that the 17 should vacate their MP seats for not following the party directive to vote against the motion relating to salaries and benefits.

FijiFirst MP, Jone Usamate says Ratu Naiqama has said that whilst his office is awaiting the legal advice, the 17 members will continue with their Parliamentary duties.

Some within the FijiFirst are also suggesting that the party President, Ratu Joji Satakala had resigned earlier this week, however when contacted by fijivillage News, he said these are maybe just rumours and he did not want to make any further comments.

Questions are being raised on the legality of the party directive given to the MPs.

Supervisor of Elections, Ana Mataiciwa has referred the matter to FICAC where former FijiFirst General Secretary, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum had maintained that Voreqe Bainimarama remains the leader of the FijiFirst.

Mataiciwa has said that Bainimarama was convicted for the offence of attempting to pervert the course of justice contravening Section 190(e) of the Crimes Act 2009 and sentenced to a term of 1 year imprisonment.

She says she understands that this conviction has been appealed but Section 5(3) of the Political Parties (Registration, Conduct, Funding and Disclosures) Act states that a person is disqualified from being an office holder of a political party that is registered under this Act if that person has, in the 5 years preceding the date when he or she applies to become an office holder of the political party been convicted of an offence and sentenced to imprisonment for a period of not less than 6 months.

An office holder refers to someone that is either elected or appointed by the members of the political party to hold office in that political party.

Mataiciwa says at the moment, Bainimarama continues his appointment as Party Leader despite not meeting the requirements of Section 5(3) of the Act.

She says the endorsement of the appointment of Bainimarama as Party Leader may be an offence relating to the Act.

She says pursuant to Section 18 of the Electoral Act 2014, she has referred this matter to the FICAC for their further action.

FICAC is yet to make a decision on the legality of Bainimarama still holding the party leader position.

Sayed-Khaiyum had earlier said that under Section 2 of the Political Parties Act, an office holder means someone who is elected or appointed by the members of a political party, and includes the president, vice-president, treasurer, secretary and registered officer of a party. He says party leader is clearly not included in this definition.

He had also said that the FijiFirst Constitution is not similar to the constitutions of other political parties.

He says it provides for provisions on the specific mechanisms for the appointment of its office holders, in line with the interpretation for the term office holder under the Political Parties Act, and which provisions also do not include the position of the Leader.

FijiFirst MP, Mosese Bulitavu says all issues need to be addressed and these include the matter in relation to the party leader position, the appointment of Faiyaz Koya as Acting General Secretary, no dispute process in the party constitution to deal with the 17 MPs’ grievances and the Opposition Leader, Inia Seruiratu not included in the Leadership Committee of the party although that is a requirement of the party constitution.

Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and Faiyaz Koya are still not answering the questions sent to them.



FijiFirst Party President being used just like Bainimarama – Bulitavu

Sayed-Khaiyum and Koya remain tightlipped
By Vijay Narayan
Monday 03/06/2024
Former party General Secretary Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, FijiFirst Party MP, Mosese Bulitavu and Acting General Secretary, Faiyaz Koya

FijiFirst Party MP, Mosese Bulitavu is alleging that former party General Secretary, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum is using the Party President, Ratu Joji Satakala to issue a statement under Satakala’s name.

Following Satakala’s statement issued on the FijiFirst facebook page that the 17 FijiFirst MPs’ seats have been vacated for not following the party’s directive on the pay rise vote, Bulitavu says Fiji knows who wrote the statement for the poor Party President to rubber stamp.

He says he does not know whether the Party President understands the statement that has been put out under his name while the drafters hide behind him.

Bulitavu stresses that the FijiFirst Party President and those who wrote the statement for him need to understand the precedent set by the former Speaker, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau on 13th August 2021.

He says the SODELPA Leader and General Secretary wrote to the Speaker to vacate his seat however the former Speaker wrote back to them that Bulitavu disputed the directive that was issued by the party.

Bulitavu says the Speaker then told SODELPA if they want to vacate his seat, they are free to go to the court.

Bulitavu adds that the FijiFirst Party does not have the power to vacate their Parliamentary seat as the Party President puts it in prepared statement 'they no longer hold seats as Parliamentarians.'

He adds that the Party President in the same statement contradicts himself saying 'while we have not heard from the Speaker as to when the 17 replacement members will be replaced..." which only proves that the power to vacate the Parliamentary seats vests in the ruling of the Speaker.

Bulitavu says to also correct the Party President, the Electoral Commission will only award the seats to the replacing candidates once they are notified by the Speaker.

He says the whole of Fiji and those abroad are fully aware of the situation that FijiFirst has been put on notice on it's Constitutional breaches.

Bulitavu says the 17 MPs say that the directive was unlawful, the FijiFirst Party Constitution does not have a dispute system and that the former Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama is being used again despite his conviction that prevents him to hold any political party office to sign the letter of notification addressed to the Speaker.

He says in addition, the Supervisor of Elections/Registrar of Political Parties has said that Bainimarama’s name would be removed from the National Voter Register due to his conviction similar to Bulitavu’s vacation of seat in April 2018 when he was convicted by the court.

Bulitavu says the Speaker has the discretion to make a ruling and reply to both parties. He adds if the FijiFirst Party President comes around in Parliament this week, he will still see the 17 MPs at the Opposition Chambers busy engaged in their Parliamentary duties.

Bulitavu calls on Satakala to please stop being used by whoever wrote his statement because they are the very ones that put the former Prime Minister, Bainimarama into a lot of problems.

The FijiFirst MP says whoever wrote Satakala’s statement was even responsible for writing the former Prime Minister, Bainimarama's maiden speech last year that resulted in his suspension from Parliament.

We have sent numerous questions to former General Secretary of the FijiFirst, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and Acting General Secretary, Faiyaz Koya. They have not been responding to any questions.



Alvick speaks out

Does FFP Acting General Secretary Koya have any powers to make decisions or is he just a mouthpiece of someone - Maharaj
By Vijay Narayan
Saturday 01/06/2024
FijiFirst MP, Alvick Maharaj

FijiFirst MP, Alvick Maharaj has called FijiFirst Party officials to be at least brave enough to admit it's personal rather than hiding behind excuses to terminate him.

While speaking to fijivillage News, Maharaj says he and others stood by Voreqe Bainimarama and his principles but if Bainimarama himself has blind-folded himself and with this recent development, as he has signed the letter that was delivered to the Speaker, he questions the legality of the termination and shall wait for a response from the Speaker, before deciding on the next step.

Maharaj says he is questioning his termination as a MP, and unfortunately, he must resort to the media to do so as FijiFirst believes in communicating through social media and letters rather than talking to its Members of Parliament before terminating its members.

He says he was caught by surprise when he received the termination letter without having a simple communication from the Central Executive Committee that he was under any kind of investigation.

He asks whether the decision to terminate him is personal or professional.

Maharaj says to date the reason is not clear as to why he was removed as Opposition Whip last year.

He says this time around he has been served with a termination letter with the reason provided for not voting in Parliamentary motion regarding the change in salaries and benefits.

The FijiFirst MP says during the discussion in the caucus meeting, he had informed everyone that he had reservations against the Emoluments Committee report, and he won't vote and this discussion took place in presence of the Acting General Secretary, Faiyaz Koya.

He says he objected to the report in parliament, and it was aired live that he had opted not to vote.

Maharaj asks how did the FijiFirst Central Executive Committee come up with the decision that since he did not vote, he should be terminated.

He says the Central Executive Committee deliberately opted to disregard his speech where he opposed the motion.

Maharaj says the day the motion was tabled he had informed his caucus that he would not sign the report, but members along those members who voted no as well as those who abstained including the General Secretary (Faiyaz Koya) pressured him to sign the emoluments report. He asks if the party had objection to anyone not going to vote then why it was not communicated by the Acting General Secretary once the discussion took place in the caucus meeting on Friday morning and before the motion was debated.

Maharaj says this also raises the question if the Acting General Secretary Koya even has any powers to make decisions or is just a mouthpiece of someone.

He asks whether the question was sent by Koya or it was sent to him and copied and pasted in their Viber group.

Maharaj says it seems like the party assumed if he would have voted, it would have been yes.

He says FijiFirst talks about unity, democracy, and dialogue and here they are getting terminated without having a single discussion between the concerned MP’s and party.

The FijiFirst MP says this raises serious concern if the Central Executive Committee or founding members of the party had a personal agenda against him and opted to terminate him using what transpired as an excuse.

He says he would also like to question why his letter is signed by the Acting General Secretary and not by the President of the party.

He adds if the new party president opted not to be the rubber stamp of the party then he would like to personally thank the new president for holding the moral ground.

The Speaker has not said anything regarding the FijiFirst terminating 17 of their MPs.

Faiyaz Koya and former General Secretary and party Foundation member, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum are not making any comments.

Stay with us for developments.



Why Alvick Maharaj removed as FijiFirst MP although he did not vote for the parliamentary motion?

What's next for the 17 MPs?
By Vijay Narayan
Friday 31/05/2024
FijiFirst MP Alvick Maharaj.

Questions are being raised on why attempts have been made to remove FijiFirst Party senior Member of Parliament, Alvick Maharaj from his parliamentary seat.

Maharaj did not vote for the parliamentary motion to change the salaries and benefits, and had raised concerns that some changes were discriminatory against youth parliamentarians.

fijivillage News is also trying to get comments from Acting General Secretary, Faiyaz Koya and the party’s Foundation Member, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum on whether this is a personal vendetta against Maharaj as he has been raising issues regarding some questionable matters in the party and was also replaced as Opposition Whip last year.

We have also asked for a response from Koya and Sayed-Khaiyum on FijiFirst MP Mosese Bulitavu's comments saying that FijiFirst does not have an internal dispute resolution in it's Constitution.

Bulitavu also asks how can termination letters be issued if MPs were not even asked to respond to the allegation against them.

fijivillage News has also managed to get the instructions given to the MPs by Koya last Friday.

It says FijiFirst Leader, Voreqe Bainimarama who was visited by his lawyers at Korovou Prison informed them about his decisions on specific policy matters.

The instruction said vote against the pay rise or at the very least abstain.

The message from Bainimarama said in short voting for it will make FijiFirst caucus members look greedy given that that ordinary Fijians who are their main supporters will lose confidnece in them as the cost of living has sky rocketed and social wages has decreased significantly and is a major public issue and is the achilles heel for the coalition government.

The message said a pay rise is not appropriate at this time, and apart from the philosophical issue, from a political perspective, if NFP or any other party abstains or votes against the Bill what will FijiFirst look like if they vote for it.

He said you can already see on social media that an overwhelming majority of Fijians even the PAP, NFP and SODELPA supporters are against the motion.

The second instruction dealt with no giving of speeches in the vernacular as Alvick Maharaj did.

Bainimarama's instruction said phrases here and there which can be translated or easily understood by all have always been acceptable by FijiFirst.

He said the philosophical rationale is that they are an inclusive political movement. not exclusive.

He adds by making speeches in the vernacular they are completely going against their core principles of inclusiveness.

We have sent questions to Acting General Secretary, Faiyaz Koya and the party’s Foundation Member, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

We have asked if they have received the confirmation of the vacation of the 17 FijiFirst MPs seats by the Speaker.

fijivillage News has also asked Koya and Sayed-Khaiyum for their comments after FijiFirst MP, Mosese Bulitavu said FijiFirst doesn't have an internal dispute resolution in it's Constitution.

He also asks how can termination letters be issued if MPs were not even asked to respond to the allegation against them.

We have also asked if this is a personal vendetta against Maharaj as he has been raising issues regarding some questionable matters in the party and was also replaced as Opposition Whip last year.

Bulitavu has also said that Section 5.3 (c)(ii) of the FijiFirst Party Constitution stipulates that "if FijiFirst is in the main opposition party in Parliament, the Parliamentary Leader shall be the Leader of the Opposition."

In addition, section 5.3 (b)(iii) of the FijiFirst Constitution says that the Parliamentary Leader is the head of the Leadership Committee and in section 5.3 (b)(iv) the Leadership Committee determines the composition of the Central Executive Committee which includes the President, Vice Presidents, the General Secretary and the Treasurer. Any member of the Leadership Committee is a Foundation member.

Bulitavu is asking why is the Leader of the Opposition/Parliamentary Leader of FijiFirst since taking office on 27 March, 2023 been kept out of the Leadership Committee and not appointed as a Foundation member.

He also asks why didn't the Leader of the Opposition being the rightful Parliamentary Leader who the FijiFirst Constitution says should be the head of the Leadership Committee take part in the selection of the new Party President, Vice Presidents, Treasurer and the appointment of the acting General Secretary.

He says only a Leadership Committee meeting chaired by the Parliamentary Leader can issue a lawful party directive to MP's.

He asked are FijiFirst not breaching their very own Party Constitution.

We have asked who are the 17 new MPs earmarked to come in, who have confirmed to the party that they are ready to serve and what is their message to the 17 terminated MPs who say they do not accept the decision and are questioning the legality of it.



Speaker yet to confirm that 17 FijiFirst MPs seats are vacant

Usamate says they are disputing the legality of their termination
By Vijay Narayan
Friday 31/05/2024
Source : Parliament of the Republic of Fiji

Speaker of Parliament, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu is yet to confirm that the 17 FijiFirst seats are vacant and the Electoral Commission is yet to award the seats to the next 17 FijiFirst candidates on the list from the 2022 general elections.

FijiFirst Acting General Secretary, Faiyaz Koya and the party’s Foundation Member, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum have not responded to our questions despite many attempts by us to get them to clarify issues to the people of Fiji on what the FijiFirst is doing.

The 17 FijiFirst Members of Parliament say they are disputing the legality of the termination letter issued to them yesterday.

The MPs include Inia Seruiratu, Mosese Bulitavu, Sanjay Kirpal, Semi Koroilavesau, Shalen Kumar, Virendra Lal, loane Naivalurua, Sachida Nand, Vijay Nath, Viliame Naupoto, Ratu Josaia Niudamu, Penioni Ravunawa, Taito Rokomatu, Alipate Tuicolo, Naisa Tuinaceva, Jone Usamate and Alvick Maharaj.

16 MPs voted for the change in salaries and benefits in parliament on Friday while Maharaj did not vote although he was in parliament.

FijiFirst MP, Jone Usamate says as far as they are concerned, they are still Members of Parliament.

814404271605ad97a3660b5ee43bfd

He says they have received letters from Faiyaz Koya notifying them that their seat in parliament has been vacated.

Usamate says they will await the full process of the law to take its course.

The 16 FijiFirst Members of Parliament met with Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu, seeking clarification on the processes of Parliament on Wednesday.

Usamate says this followed the statement posted on the FijiFirst Party Facebook page that the party will take action against the FijiFirst Members of Parliament who have been alleged to have voted against the party directive.

Usamate says the Speaker has stated that all the due processes of Parliament will be followed, should such a notification be received by his office.

The 16 FijiFirst MPs were not told to give any explanations and they were only made aware of the FijiFirst Party President Ratu Joji Satakala’s comments on the party’s official facebook page where he said on Sunday that the party will take action against the 16, including Leader of the Opposition Inia Seruiratu, who went against the party directive.

The Central Executive Committee is made up of the party President Ratu Joji Satakala, Vice President Selai Adimaitoga, Acting General Secretary Faiyaz Koya, Treasurer Hem Chand, party leader and founder Voreqe Bainimarama, former General Secretary and founder Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and founder Salesh Kumar.

According to Section 63 of the Fijian Constitution, the seat of a Member of Parliament becomes vacant if the member votes or abstains from voting in Parliament contrary to any direction issued by the political party for which he or she was a candidate at the time he or she was elected to Parliament, without obtaining the prior permission of the political party; or if the Member of Parliament is expelled from the political party for which he or she was a candidate at the time he or she was elected to Parliament and the expulsion was in accordance with the rules of the political party relating to party discipline.



We dispute our termination - Usamate

17 FijiFirst MPs receive termination letters from Koya
By Vijay Narayan
Thursday 30/05/2024

The 17 FijiFirst Members of Parliament say they are disputing the legality of the termination letter issued to them earlier today.

The MPs include Inia Seruiratu, Mosese Bulitavu, Sanjay Kirpal, Semi Koroilavesau, Shalen Kumar, Virendra Lal, loane Naivalurua, Sachida Nand, Vijay Nath, Viliame Naupoto, Ratu Josaia Niudamu, Penioni Ravunawa, Taito Rokomatu, Alipate Tuicolo, Naisa Tuinaceva, Jone Usamate and Alvick Maharaj.

16 MPs voted for the change in salaries and benefits in parliament on Friday while Maharaj did not vote although he was in parliament.

FijiFirst MP, Jone Usamate says as far as they are concerned, they are still Members of Parliament.

He says they have received letters from the Acting General Secretary of the party, Faiyaz Koya notifying them that their seat in parliament has been vacated.

Usamate says they will await the full process of the law to take its course.

Koya has not been answering our calls despite many attempts by us to get him to clarify issues to the people of Fiji on what the Fiji First is doing.

The 16 FijiFirst Members of Parliament met with Speaker, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu, with the Secretary General of Parliament in attendance, seeking clarification on the processes of Parliament yesterday.

Usamate says this follows the statement posted on the FijiFirst Party Facebook page that the party will take action against the FijiFirst Members of Parliament who have been alleged to have voted against the party directive.

Usamate says the Speaker has stated that all the due processes of Parliament will be followed, should such a notification be received by his office.

The 16 FijiFirst MPs were not told to give any explanations and they were only made aware of the FijiFirst Party President Ratu Joji Satakala’s comments on the party’s official facebook page where he said on Sunday that the party will take action against the 16, including Leader of the Opposition Inia Seruiratu, who went against the party directive.

Ratu Joji said all FijiFirst supporters and Fijian citizens are informed that all FijiFirst Members of Parliament were directed specifically by the Acting General Secretary, Faiyaz Koya in a caucus meeting on Friday morning and in writing after lunch on the same day to vote against or abstain from voting on the salary and benefit increase.

The Central Executive Committee is made up of the party President Ratu Joji Satakala, Vice President Selai Adimaitoga, Acting General Secretary Faiyaz Koya, Treasurer Hem Chand, party leader and founder Voreqe Bainimarama, former General Secretary and founder Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and founder Salesh Kumar.

According to Section 63 of the Fijian Constitution, the seat of a Member of Parliament becomes vacant if the member votes or abstains from voting in Parliament contrary to any direction issued by the political party for which he or she was a candidate at the time he or she was elected to Parliament, without obtaining the prior permission of the political party; or if the Member of Parliament is expelled from the political party for which he or she was a candidate at the time he or she was elected to Parliament and the expulsion was in accordance with the rules of the political party relating to party discipline.



16 FijiFirst MPs meet with Speaker as they remain in the dark on party decision

By Vijay Narayan
Wednesday 29/05/2024
FijiFirst MP, Jone Usamate.

The representatives of the 16 FijiFirst Members of Parliament have met with Speaker, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu, with the Secretary General of Parliament in attendance, seeking clarification on the processes of Parliament.

FijiFirst MP, Jone Usamate says this follows the statement posted on the FijiFirst Party Facebook page that the party will take action against the FijiFirst Members of Parliament who have been alleged to have voted against the party directive.

Usamate says the Speaker has stated that all the due processes of Parliament will be followed, should such a notification be received by his office.

The 16 FijiFirst MPs have not been told to give any explanations and they have been only made aware of the FijiFirst Party President Ratu Joji Satakala’s comments on the party’s official facebook page where he said on Sunday that the party will be taking action against the 16, including Leader of the Opposition Inia Seruiratu, who went against the party directive.

He says these members were Mosese Bulitavu, Sanjay Kirpal, Semi Koroilavesau, Shalen Kumar, Virendra Lal, loane Naivalurua, Sachida Nand, Vijay Nath, Viliame Naupoto, Ratu Josaia Niudamu, Penioni Ravunawa, Taito Rokomatu, Inia Seruiratu, Alipate Tuicolo, Naisa Tuinaceva and Jone Usamate.

Ratu Joji said all FijiFirst supporters and Fijian citizens are informed that all FijiFirst Members of Parliament were directed specifically by the Acting General Secretary, Faiyaz Koya in a caucus meeting on Friday morning and in writing after lunch on the same day to vote against or abstain from voting on the salary and benefit increase.

He says the Central Executive Committee of FijiFirst will now take steps as provided for in the FijiFirst Constitution to address this issue.

The Central Executive Committee is made up of the party President Ratu Joji Satakala, Vice President Selai Adimaitoga, Acting General Secretary Faiyaz Koya, Treasurer Hem Chand, party leader and founder Voreqe Bainimarama, former General Secretary and founder Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and founder Salesh Kumar.

According to Section 63 of the Fijian Constitution, the seat of a Member of Parliament becomes vacant if the member votes or abstains from voting in Parliament contrary to any direction issued by the political party for which he or she was a candidate at the time he or she was elected to Parliament, without obtaining the prior permission of the political party; or if the Member of Parliament is expelled from the political party for which he or she was a candidate at the time he or she was elected to Parliament and the expulsion was in accordance with the rules of the political party relating to party discipline.

Koya and Sayed-Khaiyum have not been answering their phones.



Bulitavu asks why Seruiratu is kept out of the FijiFirst Leadership Committee

Are we breaching our very own constitution - Bulitavu
By Vijay Narayan
Wednesday 29/05/2024
Leader of the Opposition and Parliamentary Leader of FijiFirst, Inia Seruiratu, FijiFirst MP, Mosese Bulitavu, Acting General Secretary Faiyaz Koya and former General Secretary and founder Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum

FijiFirst MP, Mosese Bulitavu is now asking whether the party is breaching it’s very own party constitution and why is the Leader of the Opposition and Parliamentary Leader of FijiFirst, Inia Seruiratu since taking office on 27th March, 2023, been kept out of the FijiFirst Leadership Committee and not appointed as a Foundation member.

The Central Executive Committee is made up of the party President Ratu Joji Satakala, Vice President Selai Adimaitoga, Acting General Secretary Faiyaz Koya, Treasurer Hem Chand, party leader and founder Voreqe Bainimarama, former General Secretary and founder Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and founder Salesh Kumar.

In an official post on his facebook page, Bulitavu is asking why didn't the Leader of the Opposition, Seruiratu being the rightful Parliamentary Leader who the FijiFirst Constitution says should be the head of the Leadership Committee, take part in the selection of the new Party President, Vice Presidents, Treasurer and the appointment of the acting General Secretary.

Bulitavu says only a FijiFirst Leadership Committee meeting chaired by the Parliamentary Leader can issue a lawful party directive to MPs.

He says Section 5.3 (c)(ii) of the FijiFirst Party Constitution stipulates that "if FijiFirst is in the main opposition party in Parliament, the Parliamentary Leader shall be the Leader of the Opposition."

Bulitavu says in addition, section 5.3 (b)(iii) of the FijiFirst Constitution says that the Parliamentary Leader is the head of the Leadership Committee and in section 5.3 (b)(iv) the Leadership Committee determines the composition of the Central Executive Committee which includes the President, Vice Presidents, the General Secretary and the Treasurer. Any member of the Leadership Committee is a Foundation member.

The 16 FijiFirst Party Members of Parliament who voted for salary and benefit increases for the President, Prime Minister, Ministers, Assistant Ministers, Speaker, Deputy Speaker, Whips, Leader of Opposition and Members of Parliament, are still awaiting the decision of the party’s Central Executive Committee.

fijivillage News has been told by some within the party that the Central Executive Committee was expected to meet in the west yesterday.

We have been told only Bainimarama will not be in the meeting as he is in prison.

The 16 FijiFirst MPs have not been told to give any explanations and they have been only made aware of the FijiFirst Party President Ratu Joji Satakala’s comments on the party’s official facebook page where he said on Sunday that the party will be taking action against the 16, including Leader of the Opposition Inia Seruiratu, who went against the party directive.

He says these members were Mosese Bulitavu, Sanjay Kirpal, Semi Koroilavesau, Shalen Kumar, Virendra Lal, loane Naivalurua, Sachida Nand, Vijay Nath, Viliame Naupoto, Ratu Josaia Niudamu, Penioni Ravunawa, Taito Rokomatu, Inia Seruiratu, Alipate Tuicolo, Naisa Tuinaceva and Jone Usamate.

Ratu Joji said all FijiFirst supporters and Fijian citizens are informed that all FijiFirst Members of Parliament were directed specifically by the Acting General Secretary, Faiyaz Koya in a caucus meeting on Friday morning and in writing after lunch on the same day to vote against or abstain from voting on the salary and benefit increase.

He says the Central Executive Committee of FijiFirst will now take steps as provided for in the FijiFirst Constitution to address this issue.

According to Section 63 of the Fijian Constitution, the seat of a Member of Parliament becomes vacant if the member votes or abstains from voting in Parliament contrary to any direction issued by the political party for which he or she was a candidate at the time he or she was elected to Parliament, without obtaining the prior permission of the political party; or if the Member of Parliament is expelled from the political party for which he or she was a candidate at the time he or she was elected to Parliament and the expulsion was in accordance with the rules of the political party relating to party discipline.

fijivillage News is also trying to get Koya and Sayed-Khaiyum.



16 FijiFirst MPs await their fate

Central Executive Committee including founders Sayed-Khaiyum and Kumar was expected to meet today
By Vijay Narayan
Tuesday 28/05/2024
[Image: File]

The 16 FijiFirst Party Members of Parliament who voted for salary and benefit increases for the President, Prime Minister, Ministers, Assistant Ministers, Speaker, Deputy Speaker, Whips, Leader of Opposition and Members of Parliament, are still awaiting the decision of the party’s Central Executive Committee.

fijivillage News has been told by some within the party that the Central Executive Committee was expected to meet in the west today.

The Central Executive Committee is made up of the party President Ratu Joji Satakala, Vice President Selai Adimaitoga, Acting General Secretary Faiyaz Koya, Treasurer Hem Chand, party leader and founder Voreqe Bainimarama, former General Secretary and founder Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and founder Salesh Kumar.

We have been told only Bainimarama will not be in the meeting as he is in prison.

The 16 FijiFirst MPs have not been told to give any explanations and they have been only made aware of the FijiFirst Party President Ratu Joji Satakala’s comments on the party’s official facebook page where he said on Sunday that the party will be taking action against the 16, including Leader of the Opposition Inia Seruiratu, who went against the party directive.

He says these members were Mosese Bulitavu, Sanjay Kirpal, Semi Koroilavesau, Shalen Kumar, Virendra Lal, loane Naivalurua, Sachida Nand, Vijay Nath, Viliame Naupoto, Ratu Josaia Niudamu, Penioni Ravunawa, Taito Rokomatu, Inia Seruiratu, Alipate Tuicolo, Naisa Tuinaceva and Jone Usamate.

Ratu Joji said all FijiFirst supporters and Fijian citizens are informed that all FijiFirst Members of Parliament were directed specifically by the Acting General Secretary, Faiyaz Koya in a caucus meeting on Friday morning and in writing after lunch on the same day to vote against or abstain from voting on the salary and benefit increase.

He says the Central Executive Committee of FijiFirst will now take steps as provided for in the FijiFirst Constitution to address this issue.

According to Section 63 of the Fijian Constitution, the seat of a Member of Parliament becomes vacant if the member votes or abstains from voting in Parliament contrary to any direction issued by the political party for which he or she was a candidate at the time he or she was elected to Parliament, without obtaining the prior permission of the political party; or if the Member of Parliament is expelled from the political party for which he or she was a candidate at the time he or she was elected to Parliament and the expulsion was in accordance with the rules of the political party relating to party discipline.

According to the Parliamentary Employments Committee report tabled in parliament, FijiFirst had proposed an increase in salary of the Leader of Opposition from $120,000 to $200,000, salary of a Member of Parliament to be increased from $50,000 to $100,000, all Ministers to get $200,000, Assistant Ministers’ pay to be increased from $90,000 to $120,000 and Speaker’s salary to be increased from $150,000 to $200,000.

FijiFirst also wanted the President’s non taxable salary to be maintained at $130,000 and the Prime Minister’s salary to be maintained at $328,750.

The proposal is quite similar to the final recommendations presented in the Parliamentary Emoluments Committee report which proposes increases in salaries for the President, Speaker of Parliament, Government Ministers and Members of Parliament. The FijiFirst proposal says comparing Parliamentary Salary and Civil Servants shows a grim picture.

It says to put simply, MPs are paid the equivalent of an Army Captain over 2 years, a Superintendent of Police, a Head Teacher of a big Primary school, or a Principal of a small Secondary school.

The FijiFirst says MPs salary are not even close to Magistrates starting salary.

The opposition party says this is not to say that these posts do not deserve these salaries but when they make the comparison with MPs salaries and peg it against the critical components, the salary for MPs are quite ludicrous to say the least.

They say the irony is that candidates who did not make it to Parliament are given jobs that pay more than all of them in Parliament.

The FijiFirst also proposed that a Health and Medical Allowance must be provided at an appropriate level at to all Members of Parliament.

They also say Members of Parliament must be accorded the full status of their position.

As such when they propose that when MPs do travel, they must be accorded Business Class travel and be afforded Diplomatic Privileges.

The FijiFirst says this is in keeping with both the importance of the work they undertake as lawmakers, and their being the physical embodiment of the democratic choice of Fiji citizens.

The recommended that all Parliamentarians below the Prime Minister are to travel Business Class and be issued Diplomatic Passports.

They also proposed that all MPs be paid a Sitting Allowance of $500 per day irrespective of where they live.

The FijiFirst says this allowance will cover travel to and from Parliament, board and subsistence.

They also recommend sitting allowances for all MPs to be increased inclusive of accommodation allowance and the removal of the restrictions on the 30 kilometres.

Koya and Sayed-Khaiyum are not answering any calls for now.



FijiFirst President statement internal process, it does not affect the work of Opposition MPs for now - Seruiratu

Constitution states MP seat becomes vacant if MP votes or abstains from voting contrary to party directive
By Vijay Narayan
Monday 27/05/2024
Leader of the Opposition, Inia Seruiratu

Leader of the Opposition, Inia Seruiratu has today said the statement of the FijiFirst Party President, Ratu Joji Satakala regarding the salary and benefits vote is a party internal process and for now does not affect the work of Opposition MPs.

Seruiratu says there has been a lot of publicity on the recent statement of the President of the FijiFirst and intention of instigating disciplinary action on FijiFirst Members of Parliament who voted for the Motion on the Emolument Review Report last Friday.

The FijiFirst Party President has said on the official facebook page that they will be taking action against 16 MPs, including Leader of the Opposition Inia Seruiratu, who went against the party directive and voted for salary and benefit increases for the President, Prime Minister, Ministers, Assistant Ministers, Deputy Speaker, Whips, Speaker, Leader of Opposition and Members of Parliament.

He says these members were Mosese Bulitavu, Sanjay Kirpal, Semi Koroilavesau, Shalen Kumar, Virendra Lal, loane Naivalurua, Sachida Nand, Vijay Nath, Viliame Naupoto, Ratu Josaia Niudamu, Penioni Ravunawa, Taito Rokomatu, Inia Seruiratu, Alipate Tuicolo, Naisa Tuinaceva and Jone Usamate.

Ratu Joji, in a post on the party's Facebook page says all FijiFirst supporters and Fijian citizens are informed that all FijiFirst Members of Parliament were directed specifically by the Acting General Secretary, Faiyaz Koya in a caucus meeting on Friday morning and in writing after lunch on the same day to vote against or abstain from voting on the salary and benefit increase.

This morning, Seruiratu has released a statement saying that the Opposition MPs are currently working very hard in the six Parliamentary Standing Committees that they are members of to scrutinize the reports assigned to them from Parliament. Seruiratu says in addition, four very important Bills were brought to Parliament in the last sitting that are required to go through the Committee process and to be tabled back to Parliament in the August sitting. The Leader of the Opposition says these are important Bills that need to be thoroughly vetted by the Committee and to be enacted by Parliament at the earliest opportunity.

Seruiratu says the Opposition MPs are continuing and working hard on their Committee roles and he would like to assure the people of Fiji that they will continue to diligently do their work as mandated to them through Parliament.

According to Section 63 of the Fijian Constitution, the seat of a Member of Parliament becomes vacant if the member votes or abstains from voting in Parliament contrary to any direction issued by the political party for which he or she was a candidate at the time he or she was elected to Parliament, without obtaining the prior permission of the political party; or if the Member of Parliament is expelled from the political party for which he or she was a candidate at the time he or she was elected to Parliament and the expulsion was in accordance with the rules of the political party relating to party discipline.

Stay with us for developments.



FijiFirst to take action against MPs who voted for salary and benefit increase

By Vijay Narayan, Rashika Kumar
Sunday 26/05/2024
FijiFirst office with 16 MPs

FijiFirst Party President Ratu Joji Satakala says the party will be taking action against 16 MPs, including Leader of the Opposition Inia Seruiratu, who went against the party directive and voted for salary and benefit increases for the President, Prime Minister, Ministers, Assistant Ministers, Deputy Speaker, Whips, Speaker, Leader of Opposition and Members of Parliament.

He says these members were Mosese Bulitavu, Sanjay Kirpal, Semi Koroilavesau, Shalen Kumar, Virendra Lal, loane Naivalurua, Sachida Nand, Vijay Nath, Viliame Naupoto, Ratu Josaia Niudamu, Penioni Ravunawa, Taito Rokomatu, Inia Seruiratu, Alipate Tuicolo, Naisa Tuinaceva and Jone Usamate.

Ratu Joji, in a post on the party's Facebook page says all FijiFirst supporters and Fijian citizens are informed that all FijiFirst Members of Parliament were directed specifically by the Acting General Secretary, Faiyaz Koya in a caucus meeting on Friday morning and in writing after lunch on the same day to vote against or abstain from voting on the salary and benefit increase.

He says the Central Executive Committee of FijiFirst will now take steps as provided for in the FijiFirst Constitution to address this issue.

According to the Parliamentary Employments Committee report tabled in parliament, FijiFirst had proposed an increase in salary of the Leader of Opposition from $120,000 to $200,000, salary of a Member of Parliament to be increased from $50,000 to $100,000, all Ministers to get $200,000, Assistant Ministers’ pay to be increased from $90,000 to $120,000 and Speaker’s salary to be increased from $150,000 to $200,000. FijiFirst also wanted the President’s non taxable salary to be maintained at $130,000 and the Prime Minister’s salary to be maintained at $328,750.

The proposal is quite similar to the final recommendations presented in the Parliamentary Emoluments Committee report which proposes increases in salaries for the President, Speaker of Parliament, Government Ministers and Members of Parliament. The FijiFirst proposal says comparing Parliamentary Salary and Civil Servants shows a grim picture.

It says to put simply, MPs are paid the equivalent of an Army Captain over 2 years, a Superintendent of Police, a Head Teacher of a big Primary school, or a Principal of a small Secondary school.

The FijiFirst says MPs salary are not even close to Magistrates starting salary.

Untitled-1

The opposition party says this is not to say that these posts do not deserve these salaries but when they make the comparison with MPs salaries and peg it against the critical components, the salary for MPs are quite ludicrous to say the least.

They say the irony is that candidates who did not make it to Parliament are given jobs that pay more than all of them in Parliament.

The FijiFirst also proposed that a Health and Medical Allowance must be provided at an appropriate level at to all Members of Parliament.

They also say Members of Parliament must be accorded the full status of their position.

As such when they propose that when MPs do travel, they must be accorded Business Class travel and be afforded Diplomatic Privileges.

The FijiFirst says this is in keeping with both the importance of the work they undertake as lawmakers, and their being the physical embodiment of the democratic choice of Fiji citizens.

The recommended that all Parliamentarians below the Prime Minister are to travel Business Class and be issued Diplomatic Passports.

They also proposed that all MPs be paid a Sitting Allowance of $500 per day irrespective of where they live.

The FijiFirst says this allowance will cover travel to and from Parliament, board and subsistence.

They also recommend sitting allowances for all MPs to be increased inclusive of accommodation allowance and the removal of the restrictions on the 30 kilometres distance from Suva.


Click here for more stories on the FijiFirst 17 MPs termination issue

FEATURE NEWS
Huge delay in review of electoral laws – SOE
Supervisor of Elections, Ana Mataiciwa says they have not received any update from the former Attorney General, Siromi Turaga and the Solicitor Gener...
13 hours ago
LATEST NEWS
Increase pay for jobs where there are more women – Dr Bhim
Pay should be increased for those jobs where women are a majority, for example, nurses and teachers. This has been highlighted by FNU lecturer, ...
12 hours ago

Robust enforcement operations and road safety education results in road fatalities decreasing by 45% - Ro Filipe
The robust enforcement operations and comprehensive road safety education and awareness campaigns over the past few months have seen a substantial ...
13 hours ago

NFA investigates 3 fires in the last two days
National Fire Authority investigators have started looking into three fires in the past two days, with one incident Monday resulting in the death of ...
13 hours ago

Students share ideas to combat ocean pollution during Veivueti Kids Ocean Conference
As Fiji is experiencing the impacts of climate change, school children are now taking a step toward conducting awareness and conferences where they ...
15 hours ago

US citizen dies on board Fiji Airways flight to San Francisco
A 41-year-old man from Unites States of America passed away on a flight from Nadi to San Francisco on Sunday morning due to a medical ...
15 hours ago



fijivillage Straight Talk with Vijay Narayan
Latest Videos

Stay tuned for the latest news on our radio stations

CFL radio frequencies
yb
IN DEPTH
Pre-Budget 2024-2025
2023-2024 National Budget Address2023-2024 Budget Supplement2023-2024 Budget ...
15 hours ago

Crisis within FijiFirst relating to the termination of 17 MPs who voted for salary increases
A crisis has erupted within the FijiFirst party relating to the termination of 17 members of parliament who supported the government's motion to ...
1 day ago

Sayed-Khaiyum case on alleged payment of Saneem's taxes without proper approval
It is alleged that between the 30th of June, 2022 and the 12th of July, 2022 in Suva, whilst being employed in the civil service as the Acting Prime ...
2 days ago

TOP