Sayed-Khaiyum case on alleged payment of Saneem's taxes without proper approval

Sayed-Khaiyum case on alleged payment of Saneem's taxes without proper approval

By fijivillage
Tuesday 11/06/2024
Former Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and former Supervisor of Elections, Mohammed Saneem

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 Minister of Fiji, Sayed-Khaiyum signed a Deed of Variation and Addendum between the Government of Fiji and the Supervisor of Elections, Mohammed Saneem, agreeing to pay the taxes of Mohammed Saneem without the proper approval of the Constitutional Offices Commission and the President of Fiji, in abuse of the authority of his office, which was an arbitrary act prejudicial to the rights of the Government of Fiji.


Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum to appear in court today

By Vijay Narayan, Rashika Kumar
Tuesday 13/06/2023
Former Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum

Former Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum will appear in the Suva Magistrates Court today in relation to his abuse of office case.

The second set of disclosures are expected to be filed today.

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 Minister of Fiji, Sayed-Khaiyum signed a Deed of Variation and Addendum between the Government of Fiji and the Supervisor of Elections, Mohammed Saneem, agreeing to pay the taxes of Mohammed Saneem without the proper approval of the Constitutional Offices Commission and the President of Fiji, in abuse of the authority of his office, which was an arbitrary act prejudicial to the rights of the Government of Fiji.

Sayed-Khaiyum is currently out on bail.

His bail conditions include reporting at the Namaka Police Station on the last Saturday of every month between 6am to 6pm, not interfering with witnesses, 2 sureties and a personal surety of $10,000, not to reoffend, surrender his travel documents and to reside at his residence in Martintar, Nadi.

A plea will be taken at a later date.



Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum to reappear in court today

By Vijay Narayan, Navitalai Naivalurua
Tuesday 05/09/2023
Former Attorney General and Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum

Former Attorney General and Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum will reappear in the Suva Magistrates Court today in relation to his case where he is charged with one count of abuse of office.

His charge relates to a report lodged by the Acting Supervisor of Elections, Ana Mataiciwa. It is alleged that Sayed-Khaiyum between June 30th and July 12th last year, while being the Acting Prime Minister, signed a Deed of Variation and Addendum between the Government and the then Supervisor of Elections, Mohammed Saneem.

It is alleged the approval for the government to pay the taxes of Saneem was done without the proper approval of the Constitutional Offices Commission and the President.

Sayed-Khaiyum has pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Stay with us for developments.



Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum attacks fijivillage for parliamentary party and MP allowance coverage

All payments pertaining to the $10,000 per MP will be on hold until further notice – Secretary General
By Vijay Narayan
Tuesday 05/09/2023
FijiFirst General Secretary, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and Minister for Finance Prof. Biman Prasad

FijiFirst General Secretary, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has today posted a letter from Secretary General to Parliament, Jeanette Emberson, stating that she reassures that the issues raised by him are before the Parliamentary Emoluments Committee for their further deliberation, and therefore all payments pertaining to the $10,000 per MP will be on hold until further notice.

In his post, Sayed-Khaiyum also attacks fijivillage saying he is compelled to put up the post since Biman Prasad and Vijay Narayan/fijivillage have made comments on an ongoing correspondence between the Secretary General of Parliament – for whom they have a great deal of respect – and the General Secretary of FijiFirst.

Sayed-Khaiyum says as usual, fijivillage provided the platform for Biman to make a number of scurrilous and truly ad hominem comments.

He says there is no point in responding to each and every one of his personalized comments, but all Fijians have to be aware of what is happening regarding the back door way of giving all 55 MPs an increase of $10,000 per annum in cash, which Biman, who will benefit from it, is defending.

Sayed-Khaiyum says on 8th August 2023, the Secretary General of Parliament wrote to him as the General Secretary of FijiFirst, and this letter was copied to the Leader for FijiFirst, FijiFirst Opposition Whip, PS Finance, Acting Registrar of Political Parties and Ropate Green, Solicitor General.

He says the letter, which was not made public by the Secretary General to Parliament, stated that after consultations between the Ministry of Finance and the senior executives in Parliament, the Secretary General’s Office decided to disburse $2.125 million as “grant to Political Parties”. The letter stated that all political parties that are in Parliament, irrespective of the number of members they have in Parliament will all receive $325,000 each.

Sayed-Khaiyum says each political party is to spend that money without any acquittals to Parliament, which means, the parties do not have to tell Parliament how they spent the money.

He says however, as per the Political Parties (Registration, Conduct, Funding and Disclosures) Act, all political parties have to, on an annual basis, provide to the Fijian Elections Office their annual audited accounts which includes source of revenue, including any parliamentary grants.

Sayed-Khaiyum says this $325,000 grant is a new allocation, that is, such money was previously never given to political parties.

He says what was given by Parliament to political parties previously, during the term of the FijiFirst Government, was a grant based on the number of members a political party had in Parliament. The formula was that a political party would get $15,000 per member it had in Parliament on an annual basis. He says in other words, if a political party had 20 members in Parliament, it would receive $300,000 (20 x $15,000), or if they had 3 members, they would receive $15,000 x 3 which is $45,000.

Sayed-Khaiyum says this money would be spent by the party as it saw fit to conduct its affairs.

He says the 8th August letter by the Secretary General stated that apart from the new allocation of $325,000 per political party in Parliament, the previous allocation of $15,000 would now be paid differently. Now only $5,000 would be given per member to the political party. In other words, if a political party had 3 seats, they would now get $15,000 as opposed to $45,000. The letter also said that the balance of the $10,000 from the $15,000 would be given to each member of Parliament, as a new personal benefit which will be called “Parliamentary duty allowance”. According to the letter, the “Parliamentary duty allowance” would be payable to all individual Parliamentary members, right from the Prime Minister, to the three Deputy Prime Ministers, the Ministers, the Assistant Ministers, the Leader of Opposition and all Members of Parliament. The letter also stated that the $10,000 will be paid to each member of Parliament at approximately $833.33 per month which will go directly into their individual bank accounts.

Sayed-Khaiyum says individual members would not need to provide any acquittals – in other words they can spend as they like and not provide receipts or invoices to Parliament, and even more significantly, the $10,000 increment they will get, will be tax exempt.

He says the FijiFirst, including all its MPs, was deeply concerned about this letter because under the scheme of this allocation, all political parties will receive the same amount of $325,000, despite their size.

He says two political parties, SODELPA and NFP have no more than 5 seats, while People’s Alliance Party and FijiFirst both have more than 20 seats but would get the same amount as SODELPA and NFP.

Sayed-Khaiyum says the disparity is stark, but this allocation to the political parties is the prerogative of the Secretary General which cannot be interfered with. He says they did, however, question the anomaly in the Secretary General’s 8th August letter, which on one hand stated that the party did not have to provide any acquittals and could spend the funds as it wished, but on the other hand stated that the party was to spend on ‘Parliamentary expenses such as staffing and other recurring expenses whilst in Parliament.”

He says the second critical issue dealt with the new $10,000 allocation, tax free, to individual members of Parliament.

Sayed-Khaiyum says it was a legal matter that affected all of these parties) they pointed out that under the Parliamentary Remuneration Act, any remuneration, which includes salaries, allowances and benefits, pertaining to those office holders (which include the President, Prime Minister, other Ministers and Assistant Ministers, Leader of Opposition, Speaker, Deputy Speaker and members of Parliament – that fall under the Act, must have Parliamentary approval.

He says this new proposed ‘Parliamentary Duty Allowance’ has not been approved under the Act and Part B of the Schedule to the Act (which sets out the specific amounts of the benefits) has not been amended.

Sayed-Khaiyum says it also for these very reasons that FijiFirst including all its MPs decided not to benefit from the $10,000 increment and that is also why the party recommended that if Parliament wanted to disburse the $10,000 allocation then it should be disbursed to the individual political parties which the parties could use for their operations including reaching out to its constituencies.

Sayed-Khaiyum says Biman Prasad did everything but focus on the legal issues.

He also says Prasad was quoted as saying that Sayed-Khaiyum insisted the money should not be given to the MPs, when clearly he did not.

Sayed-Khaiyum says Prasad is obviously wrong, he is either extremely woeful in his understanding of the law or has chosen to ignore the law. He also says in fact, Biman should not have commented on the Secretary General of Parliament’s letter at all.

He says it was correspondence between the Secretary General and FijiFirst.

Sayed-Khaiyum says the whole purpose of having an independent committee deliberating on an increase and followed by a debate in Parliament is so that the members of the public can participate and have a say in whether or not their MPs should get a pay rise/benefit or not.

He says an increase of $10,000 for each member of the 55 members of Parliament in such a manner - the back door way - without following the process and the law is an abomination.

Sayed-Khaiyum says it is more of an abomination because today, ordinary Fijians, and in particular the poor, the low income, the working class and the waning middle class, are having to pay 15% VAT, increase in duties, increase in bus fares, pay school levies and have limited if any access to the free GP scheme and an overall increase in cost of living.

fijivillage News had sought comments from FijiFirst Parlimentary Leader and Opposition Leader, Inia Seruiratu on August 24th. He is yet to comment. However FijiFirst Whip, Alvick Maharaj had said that they stand by the letter sent by Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

While responding to Sayed-Khaiyum, Professor Biman Prasad says he maintains his earlier comments but adds that Aiyaz unilaterally usurped the powers of parliament and the changed the formula in 2014 tp punish the Opposition and now wants to dictate to the Speaker and parliament as to how parliament supports parties in parliament and MPs to do their work.



Sayed-Khaiyum in court today after returning from overseas following medical procedures

By Rashika Kumar
Tuesday 16/01/2024
Former Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum

Former Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum is in court this morning after being granted a bail variation to undergo medical procedures overseas.

The Suva Magistrates Court had granted variation to his bail conditions in September and he returned to the country on Boxing Day last year.

He was ordered to return his passport to the court registry in October, however an application for further bail variation was granted by the court as he was still undergoing medical procedures.

The Acting Director Public Prosecutions is appearing for the State.

Sayed-Khaiyum’s charge relates to a report lodged by the Acting Supervisor of Elections, Ana Mataiciwa. It is alleged that Sayed-Khaiyum between June 30th and July 12th 2022, while being the Acting Prime Minister, signed a Deed of Variation and Addendum between the Government and the then Supervisor of Elections, Mohammed Saneem.

It is alleged the approval for the government to pay the taxes of Saneem was done without the proper approval of the Constitutional Offices Commission and the President.

Stay with us for updates.



Sayed-Khaiyum to appear in court for charges relating to alleged payment of Saneem’s taxes without proper approval

By Vijay Narayan
Tuesday 19/03/2024
Former AG Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum with lawyer Devanesh Sharma outside court earlier today [Image: File]

Former Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum will appear in the Suva Magistrates Court today in the case where it is alleged that he approved for the government to pay the taxes of former Supervisor of Elections, Mohammed Saneem without the proper approval of the Constitutional Offices Commission and the President.

Sayed-Khaiyum’s charge relates to a report lodged by the Acting Supervisor of Elections, Ana Mataiciwa.

It is alleged that Sayed-Khaiyum between June 30th and July 12th 2022, while being the Acting Prime Minister, signed a Deed of Variation and Addendum between the Government and the then Supervisor of Elections, Mohammed Saneem.



Saneem to appear in court for the charge of receiving a corrupt benefit

By Vijay Narayan
Tuesday 19/03/2024
Former Supervisor of Elections, Mohammed Saneem [Image: File]

Former Supervisor of Elections, Mohammed Saneem, who is charged with one count of Receiving a Corrupt Benefit, will appear in the Suva Magistrates Court today.

It is alleged that between the 1st of June 2022 and the 31st of July 2022, while being employed as the Supervisor of Elections, Saneem without lawful authority and reasonable excuse, asked for, and obtained a benefit for himself, that is, the approval and payment of deductible tax relief of more than $50,000 on his back pay from a senior Government official.

Stay with us for updates.



Bail extended for Sayed-Khaiyum and Saneem in former SOE tax payment cases

By Karishma Kumari
Tuesday 19/03/2024
Former Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and former Supervisor of Elections, Mohammed Saneem

Former Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, who is charged with allegedly approving the government to pay the taxes of former Supervisor of Elections, Mohammed Saneem without the proper approval of the Constitutional Offices Commission and the President, will now re-appear in the Suva Magistrates Court on the 9th of April.

Sayed-Khaiyum’s bail has been extended by Magistrate Namrata Mishra.

Sayed-Khaiyum’s charge relates to a report lodged by the Acting Supervisor of Elections, Ana Mataiciwa.

It is alleged that Sayed-Khaiyum between June 30th and July 12th 2022, while being the Acting Prime Minister, signed a Deed of Variation and Addendum between the Government and the then Supervisor of Elections, Mohammed Saneem.

Meanwhile Saneem who is charged with one count of receiving a corrupt benefit, had his bail extended by the Suva Magistrates Court.

Magistrate Namrata Mishra has adjourned his case to 9th April.

It is alleged that between the 1st of June 2022 and the 31st of July 2022, while being employed as the Supervisor of Elections, Saneem without lawful authority and reasonable excuse, asked for, and obtained a benefit for himself, that is, the approval and payment of deductible tax relief of more than $50,000 on his back pay from a senior Government official.



State given 7 days to apply for amendment of affidavit in Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum's case

By Navitalai Naivalurua
Wednesday 01/05/2024
Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum (right) with lawyer, Devanesh Sharma (left) outside court.

The Suva Magistrates Court has given 7 days for the State to file an amendment of affidavit in the case of former Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum regarding the alleged tax payment to former Supervisor of Elections, Mohammed Saneem.

DPP lawyer, Nancy Tikoisuva had asked the court if they could make an amendment to the affidavit as there is an error.

She says they will need 7 days.

Sayed-Khaiyum’s lawyer Devanesh Sharma did not object to this and also asked the court if Sayed-Khaiyum's name be amended to include a hyphen between Sayed and Khaiyum.

Acting Chief Magistrate Josaia Waqaivolavola gave the State Counsel 7 days to file for the amendment of the affidavit, and he gave the defence counsel 14 days to respond.

Mgaistrate Waqaivolavola also gave both counsels another 7 days for simultaneous submissions.

The case will be called again at 11am on the 10th of June.

Sayed-Khaiyum is charged with allegedly approving the government to pay the taxes of former Supervisor of Elections, Mohammed Saneem without proper approval of the Constitutional Offices Commission and the President.

His charge relates to a report lodged by the Acting Supervisor of Elections, Ana Mataiciwa.

It is alleged that Sayed-Khaiyum between June 30th and July 12th 2022, while being the Acting Prime Minister, signed a Deed of Variation and Addendum the Government and the Supervisor of Elections, Mohammed Saneem.



Sayed-Khaiyum applies for bail variation to travel to Singapore for medical reason

By Rashika Kumar
Monday 10/06/2024
Former AG Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and Former SOE Mohammed Saneem.

The lawyers of former Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum have applied for bail variation to allow Sayed-Khaiyum to travel to Singapore for medical reason.

In this case, Sayed-Khaiyum and former Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem are charged for the alleged payment of Saneem's taxes without proper approval.

Sayed-Khaiyum’s lawyer, Devanesh Sharma informed the court that Sayed-Khaiyum intends to travel from the 14th of June to the 1st of July.

He says Sayed-Khaiyum, while on bail, has travelled before and has returned to Fiji.

DPP lawyer Nimisha Shankar says the State is seeking 7 days time to file their response.

The matter will be called at 11.30am Monday for a hearing on the bail variation.

Meanwhile, the Office of the DPP has also filed an application to consolidate the charges against the two and has filed the supporting affidavit.

Sharma says they are objecting to this on the possibility of having a cut-throat defence.

This matter will be called on the 16th of July to fix a hearing date.

It is alleged that Sayed-Khaiyum between June 30th and July 12th in 2022, while being the Acting Prime Minister, signed a Deed of Variation and Addendum between the Government and the then Supervisor of Elections, Mohammed Saneem.

It is alleged the approval for the government to pay the taxes of Saneem was done without the proper approval of the Constitutional Offices Commission and the President.


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