2022 General Election: Saneem dismisses complaint lodged against Fiji PM

Mohammed Saneem. Picture: ELIKI NUKUTABU/FT FILE

Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem has dismissed a complaint lodged against FijiFirst party leader Voreqe Bainimarama and general secretary Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

The complaint was lodged by Unity Fiji’s Mick Beddoes following the FijiFirst party campaign in Nausori.

“Having reviewed the statements, it noted that Mr Bainimarama was in fact providing his opinion on the aftermath of any person attempting to enter into property that is currently classified as freehold,” FEO said through a statement.

“FijiFirst, in its letter, has offered further explanations (which are legally valid) supporting the opinion offered by its leader.

“Mr Beddoes did not provide any evidence in his complain that the utterances by the FijiFirst leader urged the commission or intended that the offence incited be committed. In fact, it appears that Mr Beddoes has been victim of opinion of others published in some media instead.”

According to FEO, complaints against Mr Sayed-Khaiyum contained factual inaccuracies and were labelled as “mischievous”.

“It is noted that Mr Aiyaz-Sayed-Khaiyum acted in his capacity as the Minister responsible for Communications while launching free Wi-Fi and digital TV at Lautoka market and that this is a budgeted initiative.

“It appears to be an attempt to restrain ministers from discharging their legal functions under the guise of campaign law breach. The FEO has already, in previous matters outlined that the law does not prohibit any person from continuing their functions in their official capacity.”

Meanwhile, Mr Saneem referred FijiFirst candidate Alexander O’Connor to the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) for probable breach of Section 113(3), (4) and 141 of the Electoral Act 2014.

“A medical officer had complained to the Electoral Commission after being requested by Mr O’Connor to assist in the distribution of his campaign materials,” Mr Saneem said.

“The FEO reminds all political parties and their representatives to ensure that they comply with all relevant laws in place when undertaking campaign for the 2022 General Election.”

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