FijiFirst General Secretary, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has written a letter of complaint to the Supervisor of Elections, Mohammed Saneem regarding the conduct of the People’s Alliance and the National Federation Party, and urges the Fijian Elections Office to take appropriate action.
Sayed-Khaiyum says they refer to what he says are false statements regarding TELS made by Ahmed Bhamji at what appears to be a NFP campaign rally.
He says Bhamji’s statement is factually incorrect as no student is given a lifetime of slavery if he or she obtains tertiary education through TELS.
Photo provided by the Fiji First General Secretary in the complaint letter to the SoE
Sayed-Khaiyum says it is absurd to compare Girmit with TELS, and is an insult to the Girmitiyas and their descendants.
He also says the loan repayment amount can be no more than 20 percent of the graduate student’s gross annual income, and commences only when the student is employed. He further says a guarantor will only be required to pay the amount owed by the student where the student deliberately avoids payment.
The FijiFirst General Secretary has also raised concern regarding campaign material of the NFP and People’s Alliance.
He says recently NFP’s invitation for a talanoa session appeared in a flyer alongside a birthday invitation in Olosara, Sigatoka.
Sayed-Khaiyum says similarly, a flyer appeared on social media for a fundraising gala dinner which had ticket prices at $150 per head and $1,500 per table. He says the flyer bears the party logo and photo of the People’s Alliance Leader, Sitiveni Rabuka.
He has also listed other People’s Alliance fundraising event flyers which he says breach the requirements of the Electoral Act.
Sayed-Khaiyum says he has also been informed by an individual who attended a fundraising dinner of the People’s Alliance, held in Auckland on June 25th 2022, and paid $200 to attend the event however was not issued with a receipt, nor did the party ask for the individual’s name. He says this is clearly in breach of the laws surrounding political party donations.
National Federation Party General Secretary, Seni Nabou says FijiFirst General Secretary, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum should confine himself to diligently perform his responsibilities as the Attorney-General and Minister for Economy instead of trying to manufacture lies and conspiracy theories to try and discredit the NFP.
Nabou says the serious allegations against a party stalwart are frivolous, malicious, vexatious and defamatory.
She says the video that Sayed-Khaiyum refers to and claims breached campaign rules under the Electoral Act shows party stalwart Ahmed Bhamji speaking at a NFP meeting and the evidence he has submitted shows it was extracted from a “Vote for Change” Facebook page”. Nabou says the NFP has never been associated with this Facebook page.
She says all their social media pages have been submitted to the Supervisor of Elections and they are their official pages.
Nabou adds the video showing Bhamji talking about TELS is not at any recent meeting nor associated with any event in respect to campaign or otherwise for the 2022 general elections.
She says this is clearly extracted from a livestream of the last rally for the 2018 general elections at Rishikul Primary School, which can be clearly found on the NFP Facebook page.
Nabou further says the image submitted by Sayed-Khaiyum has been deliberately edited to show only Bhamji because the full image, proves beyond any doubt of when the statement was made.
[Photo supplied by the NFP saying it is from a campaign meeting during the 2018 elections]
The NFP’s General Secretary says the front line-up clearly shows candidates contesting the 2018 elections.
Nabou says Bhamji didn’t breach any campaign rules because he addressed that meeting 2 years and 8 months before the Electoral Act was amended by Parliament in June 2021.
She says as Fiji’s chief legal officer and defacto PM, Sayed-Khaiyum’s reliance on manufactured evidence is political lunacy.
Nabou says as for his claim that a birthday invitation by someone who is an aspiring candidate has breached publication authorisation rules, Sayed-Khaiyum should first understand the difference between a publication and an invitation.
She says the invitation that Sayed-Khaiyum submitted to the FEO as evidence was designed and photocopied by the aspiring candidate and distributed to his family members and it is different from the official invitation prepared at the party HQ.
Nabou adds Sayed-Khaiyum’s claims about overseas fundraising are ludicrous and based on assumptions and the NFP never conducted a joint fundraising drive with the People’s Alliance both locally and overseas.
We have sent questions to Sayed-Khaiyum. He is yet to respond.
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