Minister for Home Affairs, Pio Tikoduadua says the allegations of carrying arms in domestic flights by the bodyguards of former Attorney General and Minister for Civil Aviation, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, was not authorised by the Republic of Fiji Military Forces.
When asked by fijivillage News, Tikoduadua says he can confirm that a group of 6 Personal Protection Officers were assigned at any one time for former Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama and the former AG respectively.
He says this covered a shift period of 24 hours and the soldiers were selected from a group of soldiers trained specifically for the role.
Tikoduadua says Bainimarama had been under the kind of protection since 2000 while Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum commenced much later.
He says each soldier on duty carried a Glock 9mm pistol for the protection of the VIP.
The Home Affairs Minister says RFMF personnel are not authorised to carry arms into a plane.
Tikoduadua says they are bound by international aviation safety and protection standards and if indeed they carried these arms into the planes, then it is assumed it would have been authorised by some one or some aviation authority like CAAF.
He says this would have to be the case because of all the safety checks that would have to be undertaken before boarding a plane.
The Minister says alternatively, smuggling of arms could be the explanation too or an unlawful order given and abuse of office or power.
Tikoduadua also says given the number of troops providing protection for over 20 odd years, it will take a bit more time to reveal how much it cost RFMF in soldiers’ pay and to calculate how much it cost government for their work.
A report has been filed with Police regarding the allegations of Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum’s bodyguards carrying guns on domestic flights without the CAAF’s approval during the period of the previous government being in power.
We have sent questions to Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and Fiji Airways.
They are yet to respond.
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