1 Jun 2021

Call for Fiji's Attorney-General to step down

11:53 am on 1 June 2021

Fiji's main opposition party has called on the Attorney-General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, to "step down" amid allegations against him.

The call was made during a debate on a motion by Sayed-Khaiyum for Parliament to approve a $US84 million government guarantee for the Fiji Development Bank.

The Social Democratic Liberal SODELPA MP, Inosi Kuridrani, called for Sayed-Khaiyum to be investigated for alleged cases against the senior government official.

Kuridrani also questioned the "integrity and competency" of the AG.

Kuridrani said in November he had warned of some allegations against Sayed-Khaiyum that needed to be investigated.

These, Kuridrani said, included the over 30 year Veronica Malani case, the Rewa Dairy issue and the recent $US14.8m digger payment for a relative.

Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama.

Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama. Photo: Supplied

"On top of that, he has been deceiving this nation for the past 14 years for a false economic boom."

In the Malani case, a police investigation was opened into Sayed-Khaiyum in July last year, after a complaint was laid alleging that in 1987 he planted the bombs amid soaring ethnic tensions and the coup of then military commander Sitiveni Rabuka.

In January this year, Fiji's public prosecutor threw out the case against Sayed-Khaiyum saying there was insufficient evidence to charge him in relation to two bombings in the capital Suva, 30 years ago.

In February, Rabuka - then Opposition Leader - lodged a complaint with the anti-corruption commission against the government's tender at Rewa Dairy.

Rabuka had complained that the procurement for a restructure of the state-owned dairy company was done arbitrarily.

Rabuka said the government had failed to comply with financial procurement procedures when it appointed consultants for a company restructure.

He said the contract was awarded to the company, Aliz Pacific, without a tender process.

But in its decision, the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) said the process was carried out independently of the government, and Rabuka's allegation of Cabinet involvement had no merit.

Kuridrani has called for police to relook at the earlier cases and reopen the investigations.

The allegations against Sayed-Khaiyum over the digger payment remain under investigation. No charges have been laid and the allegations have not been tested in court.

The SODELPA MP said he doubted the $US84m would reach the people who were supposed to benefit from it.

In his right of response, Sayed-Khaiyum said parliamentarians like Kuridrani should stop personalising issues and focus on matters being discussed in parliament.