I was paid nowhere near $32,000 a month – Sayed-Khaiyum
FBC has been shortchanged by around $200 million if the true account of PSB services is taken into the equation – Sacked CEO

I was paid nowhere near $32,000 a month – Sayed-Khaiyum

FBC has been shortchanged by around $200 million if the true account of PSB services is taken into the equation – Sacked CEO

By Vijay Narayan
Thursday 02/02/2023
Former CEO of FBC, Riyaz Sayed-Khaiyum [Image: Fiji Government]

Sacked Fijian Broadcasting Corporation CEO, Riyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has released a statement today, saying the new FBC Chairperson, Ajay Bhai Amrit’s comments that he was paid $32,000 a month in salary, is absolutely false.

Sayed-Khaiyum says under his most recent 3 year contract, which was approved by the previous board in late December last year, he was paid nowhere near what has been falsely reported.

He says every contract of his over the last 15 years of his tenure as CEO FBC has been strictly sanctioned and approved by several boards, always with stringent conditions, board approved Key Performance Indicators and a clearly defined job description.

The former FBC CEO says the board always approved his salary, bonus and other entitlements based on performance and a strict adherence to PWC job evaluation reports after which it was sent to the Prime Minister’s Office for sanction.

He says the board also sanctioned every major development at the FBC over the last 15 years.

Riyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says Amrit’s allegation that Sayed-Khaiyum received more than $304,000 in salary during the COVID-19 pandemic is also incorrect.

He says during this time, the FBC staff went through a 10 percent salary reduction for about half a year in order to mitigate the effects of the pandemic on their revenue, and he took a 12 percent salary reduction on his own volition.

Sayed-Khaiyum says the FBC Chairperson is also on record saying that he found it difficult to access information about the CEO’s salary despite going to different ministries.

He says he is sure that the Chairperson could have easily accessed this information from FBC’s financials, Director Human Resources or the Chief Financial Officer, or simply checked the information that was provided to the Board prior to the meeting of 27th January 2023.

Sayed-Khaiyum says all information pertaining to his employment together with contracts of employment were provided to the Board.

He further says the remarks made by the Chairperson are not only false but appear to be designed to give rise to a particular negative sentiment within the Fijian public, not only against him but against the former FBC Board and FBC as an entity.

He says a further allegation levelled against him was about a vehicle that the previous FBC board approved as part of his entitlement as the former CEO of FBC.

Sayed-Khaiyum says it is the Chairperson’s claim that this vehicle cost FBC around $200,000, and this is not true.

The former FBC CEO says the purchase of the vehicle was sanctioned by the Board, and it was suggested that the vehicle be imported from New Zealand to save cost.

He says the previous chairman has corroborated this information.

Sayed-Khaiyum also says any professional board member would know that employment matters are confidential and should not be revealed to third parties.

Riyaz Sayed-Khaiyum also asks why would the board whose fiduciary duty is to always act in the best interest of the company want to have unprecedented dialogue and work with its media competitors in such an aggressively competitive media environment.

He asks what answers will the board give to its shareholders if it loses business and subsequent revenue to its competitors.

Sayed-Khaiyum asks what will now happen to the separate contract that the FBC tendered for and won to provide preferential priced advertising and production work for the entire government machinery.

He says Amrit’s claimed that senior management did not give the board a robust strategic plan going forward, is also incorrect.

He says during the seven and a half hour meeting with the Board, all details relating to FBC’s strategic plan were provided, including major capital projects and plans on how to generate new revenue streams which had been approved by the previous Board.

Sayed-Khaiyum says despite the amazing success by team FBC, the past boards, management and staff of the national broadcaster have continuously been subjected to conjecture and malicious rumours due to political point scoring, ignorance and professional jealousy by some media outlets who obviously continue to harbour resentment towards team FBC and Sayed-Khaiyum.

Riyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says some media outlets are again blatantly ignoring to balance their recent negative stories about the FBC and have decided to only run the one-sided wild allegations by the new FBC board without making any attempts to get comments from him, and often, from the FBC.

He says as he was not provided with a single reason for his termination by the FBC Board, which occurred 3 days after the Board first met him, he only hopes that the recent allegations and aspersions against him and the FBC are not part of any premeditated agenda because of his relationship with the former Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

Sayed-Khaiyum says perhaps a person with a different name would not have been subjected to such false allegations.

He says such an agenda would not only seek to damage his professional standing but would also aim to turn loyal FBC staff against him.

Sayed-Khaiyum says he remains determined and reserves all his rights to take legal action against anyone that is involved in maligning his reputation and character, including members of the FBC Board.

Riyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says if the new FBC Chairperson, Ajay Bhai Amrit is of the view that the $90 million plus given to FBC over 14 years is massive, he appears not to realise that FBC has in fact been short-changed by around $200 million if the true account of its public service broadcasting services are taken into the equation.

While responding to Amrit, Sayed-Khaiyum claims in a statement that from 2008 to 2012, the true value of the specialized public service broadcasting service provided at the behest of the Fijian Government is worth around a staggering $280 million in value.

Sayed-Khaiyum says Amrit also claimed that if the Fijian government hadn’t paid the FBC for the PSB fee then the FBC would have made a loss of $63 million.

He says this would be the same as the Fijian government having a contract with a lone specialized service provider in Fiji but paying less than half of the value of the service provided.

Riyaz Sayed-Khaiyum asks how is that smart and responsible business practice for the lone specialized service provider, will the service provider not eventually reduce its service to make up for losses and is any of this feasible in the midst of a non-monopolistic FBC competing with numerous other media organizations in one of the most competitive industries in Fiji.

We had made several calls to Riyaz Sayed-Khaiyum on the day of his sacking however he did not answer his phone.

We are also currently trying to get FBC Board Chairman Ajay Bhai Amrit for his response.

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