SoE refers probable electoral breaches to FICAC

May 24, 2024 5:26 pm

Supervisor of Elections Ana Mataiciwa has today referred two matters of probable commission of electoral breaches to the Fiji Independent Commission against Corruption.

In a statement she says the matters are related to the FijiFirst appointment of its Party Leader and Lynda Tabuya, respectively.

Mataiciwa says with regards to the appointment of the FijiFirst Party Leader, on 9th May 2024, former FijiFirst General Secretary Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum conducted a press conference and made statements to the effect that former Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama will continue to be the Party Leader of FijiFirst.

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She says on the same day, Bainimarama was convicted for the offence of attempting to pervert the course of justice and sentenced to one-year imprisonment.

Mataiciwa says an office holder refers to someone who is either elected or appointed by the members of the political party to hold office in that political party.

She says at the moment, Bainimarama continues his appointment as Party Leader despite not meeting the requirements of Section 5(3) of the Political Parties (Registration, Conduct, Funding and Disclosures) Act 2013

The SoE says the endorsement of the appointment of Bainimarama as Party Leader may be an offence relating to the Act.

She says in addition, the FEO received a complaint against Lynda Tabuya and the FEO is of the position that the allegation contained in the complaint may be an offence relating to the Act.

Apart from this Mataiciwa says the FEO has also, to date, referred 17 individuals including the President, current Ministers, and Members of Parliament and party executives to FICAC for the probable commission of electoral breaches.

These individuals were referred to FICAC between October last year and 14th May this year.

These include Charan Jeath Singh, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, Voreqe Bainimarama, Ratu Wiliame Katonivere, Biman Prasad, Usaia Waqatairewa, Lynda Tabuya, Josaia Gonewai, Manoa Kamikamica, Siromi Turaga, Tanya Waqanika, Viliame Takayawa, Aseri Radrodro, Ifereimi Vasu, Semi Koroilavesau, Faiyaz Koya and Semesa Karavaki.

The SoE emphasizes that the FEO is under a statutory duty to promptly refer these matters to FICAC.

She says by invoking her powers under Section 18 of the Electoral Act 2014, she has merely asked FICAC to look into the probable commission of electoral breaches.

She adds that procedural fairness will be provided to these individuals when FICAC carries out its assessments on the matters.

She adds that these referrals must not be misconstrued as finding these individuals guilty of any offence.