2 May 2023

Fiji's former attorney-general released on bail

6:05 pm on 2 May 2023
Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum outside courthouse on 2 May 2023.

Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, middle, outside the Government Buildings in suva on Tuesday. Photo: Facebook / FijiFirst

Fiji's former attorney-general Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum was granted bail by a local court on Tuesday.

Sayed-Khaiyum is charged with one count of abuse of office.

He has been released on a Fijian $FJ10,000 (over $NZ7,000) bail by Magistrate Waleen George, according to local media reports.

Sayed-Khaiyum has been ordered to surrender his travel documents and reside at his permanent residence in Nadi.

His bail conditions also include reporting to the Namaka Police Station on the last Saturday of every month and not to interfere with witnesses.

Sayed-Khaiyum did not take a plea.

The case has been adjourned to June 13 for the second phase of disclosures.

Earlier on Monday, the acting director of public prosecutions sanctioned charges against the FijiFirst politician for abusing his authority as acting prime minister between June 30 and July 12.

He is alleged to have agreed to pay the taxes of former elections chief Mohammed Saneem without the proper approval of Fiji's Constitutional Offices Commission and the President of Fiji.

Sayed-Khaiyum was questioned by police and detained at the Totogo Police overnight in the capital Suva.

He was greeted by his family and supporters outside the courthouse, including the opposition leader Inia Seruiratu, and half a dozen FijiFirst MPs.

He told local journalists police involved in the investigations were "under a lot of pressure".

"The police in conducting the interviews that I have been called in for a period of now over a month have been all very courteous. They were very professional," he said.

"I also understand at the same time and appreciate that some of them are under a lot of pressure. They get told certain things that, 'that is the direction', then they have to do XYZ. So, as we have said previously that this is actually a political witchhunt."

He also claimed the there were "continuous breaches of the constitution".

"For any country, any economy, any society to function properly, to be fair, to be just, to ensure that the margianalised are looked after is that you must have the rule of law. At the moment it would appear a number of cracks are appearing."

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