The People’s Alliance Deputy Leader, Manoa Kamikamica says they are of the firm belief that the General Secretary of the FijiFirst Party, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum is severely compromised, as he is seriously in an alleged conflict of interest situation.
Kamikamica maintains that you cannot be General Secretary of a political party that is contesting the upcoming general elections as the ruling party, and also hold the ministerial positions of Attorney General as well as the Minister Responsible for Justice, for the Fijian Elections Office and FICAC.
Kamikamica says if this is not conflict of interest to you, then he does not know what is.
He says in fact the man himself, Sayed-Khaiyum told the media two weeks ago that he sees no conflict of interest and he wanted to be shown the conflict.
Kamikamica says more recently, the best example of conflict of interest reared its head when the FijiFirst Party put up signage at the Suva Civic Carpark in clear breach and contravention of the law and wasn’t immediately referred to FICAC.
He says in fact, the FijiFirst was given time to take down the sign.
Kamikamica says there was no investigation into issues like - was the sign truly authorized by the General Secretary, was there a contractual relationship between SCC and the FijiFirst and how much was paid for the sign and was it an arm’s length transaction. He also says because of the different ways the parties have been treated, this is exactly why the doctrine of conflict exists.
Kamikamica also stresses that Sayed-Khaiyum owes the family of the late Prime Minister, Laisenia Qarase an apology.
The People’s Alliance Deputy Leader says Qarase never held the portfolio of Minister for Elections.
Kamikamica says it is appalling that the AG would have the audacity to drag in the name of a popular and beloved national leader of Fiji, even after his passing, to perpetuate the lie that Qarase himself had exposed in 2014.
He asks how low can Sayed-Khaiyum go.
News articles from 2014 have been shared where Qarase said when he was Prime Minister and was also Leader of the SDL Party, he was never Minister for Elections.
Qarase said in a parliamentary democracy, all government agencies must come under a ministerial portfolio. He said both the Electoral Commission and the Office of the Supervisor of Elections have always come under the Prime Minister's portfolio, and he said as Prime Minister from 2000-2006, his role was two-fold in relation to the two agencies.
Qarase said firstly, he was expected to deal with their submissions for budgetary allocations and, secondly, he had a duty to respond to parliamentary questions as they arose.
Qarase stressed that in no way did he influence or interfere in the work of the Electoral Commission or the Supervisor of Elections, and he is aware that the Prime Ministers who preceded him played a similar role.
Qarase added that since Independence in 1970, there has never been a Minister for Elections.
Qarase said the reason for this is that both the Electoral Commission and the Office of the Supervisor of Elections must carry out their functions within the laws regulating their operations, with complete independence and without interference from the Government in power.
He said this golden rule had been broken for the first time by the Bainimarama-Sayed-Khaiyum regime with the appointment of the Attorney General as Minister Responsible for Elections.
Qarase said Sayed-Khaiyum must do the right thing and step down from the position of Minister for Elections.
Kamikamica says based on that, the late Prime Minister was never Minister for Elections, he was never the Attorney General, he also was not the Minister responsible for Justice, or for Anti-corruption, and Qarase was not General Secretary of his party.
While speaking in a press conference earlier this month, FijiFirst General Secretary, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum asked how is there a conflict of interest and where is the conflict when asked in a press conference to respond to calls by some political parties for him to resign as Minister Responsible for Elections.
He asked to be shown where is the conflict.
Sayed-Khaiyum says prior to 2007, Laisenia Qarase was the Leader of the former SDL Party and also Minister Responsible for Elections during the 2001 and 2006 elections.
We sought a response from Sayed-Khaiyum on Kamikamica’s statement yesterday. He is yet to respond.
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