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Prasad affair leaves tatti on Bainimarama and Khaiyum’s face

May 13, 2014

As they say, one down two to go.

Fiji First’s vice president, Bijai Prasad, has resigned after being exposed for stealing $20,000 while working as a movement controller at Air Services Ltd at Namaka in 1982.

The crime was committed more than 30 years ago and he served a year of his three-year sentence but it was justifiably enough to bring the former Fiji Labour Party senator down very quickly.

Prasad was busted on Tuesday on this blog for theft and Fijileaks for being stripped of his Aussie citizenship as a result and resigned just a day later saying it was his own decision.

Egg on face: Bainimarama with Prasad.

“I have last night (Wednesday) submitted the withdrawal of my name as the vice-president of the proposed Fiji First Party to the proposed leader and to the proposed general secretary,” he said in a press conference in Nadi yesterday, which was also attended by the illegal attorney-general, Minister for Elections and proposed Fiji First general secretary, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

“I have done so because when I accepted the position, I did not disclose the fact that over 30 years ago, I was convicted on a criminal charge and served a prison term.

TIME TO GO: Khaiyum with Prasad yesterday.

“I did not disclose this information because of the fact that it was over 30 years ago and that under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Irrelevant Convictions Act 1997, records after 10 years are expunged.”

Bainimarama and Khaiyum both have tatti on their face and should abandon this sham of an election: Khaiyum especially because it is a clear conflict of interest and Bainimarama because he has no mandate to lead Fiji to elections.

Khaiyum is the party’s proposed general secretary but as we know, he registered the domain Fiji First in 2009 and proceeded to create decrees to restrict political parties, NGOs and churches in upcoming elections.

He yesterday mouthed this irony: “Mr Prasad obviously understands the level of standards that we (Fiji First) expect in terms of disclosure.”

Khaiyum is not following Prasad’s lead and claims he can stay on as Minister of Elections and Fiji First’s general secretary because Sitiveni Rabuka and Laisenia Qarase were in similar positions in 1999 and 2001.

Qarase rejects Khaiyum’s claim

QARASE: Calling for independence.

Qarase has today corrected Khaiyum in a statement, saying he was never Minister of Elections while leader of the SDL party.

He says the country has not had a Minister of Elections since Independence in 1970 because ‘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.’
“This golden rule has been broken for the first time by the Bainimarama-Sayed-Khaiyum regime with the appointment of the Attorney- General as Minister responsible for elections.

 

“Mr Sayed-Khaiyum exercises the power of this portfolio as a member of a government with no legal or popular mandate, no accountability and no parliamentary oversight. This is the crux of his problem and public concerns about his role.

 

 

“In a parliamentary democracy, all government agencies must come under a ministerial portfolio. Both the Electoral Commission and the Office of the Supervisor of Elections have always come under the Prime Minister’s portfolio. As Prime Minister from 2000-2006 my role was two-fold in relation to the two agencies.

 

“Firstly, I was expected to deal with their submissions for budgetary allocations and, secondly, I had a duty to respond to parliamentary questions as they arose. In no way did I influence or interfere in the work of the Electoral Commission or the Supervisor of Elections. I am aware that the Prime Ministers who preceded me played a similar role.”

Qarase says in contract both the regime’s Prime Minister and Attorney-General have been in complete control of the current election process.

“The Attorney-General and Mnister of Elections, Mr Aiyaz Syaed-Khaiyum, must do the right thing and step down from the position of Minister of Elections. Indeed, there should be no Minister of Elections. The general election must be carried out by a truly independent Electoral Commission and Supervisor of Elections.”

Both Khaiyum and Bainimarama have yet to make full disclosure of their bank accounts.

 

source – c4.5, Posted by Rusi Varani for swm

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