Tuesday, March 28, 2023
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FLP wants FICAC DC investigated

Fiji Labour Party Leader Mahendra Chaudhry says Deputy Commissioner of the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC), Rashmi Aslam should be investigated for clearing former Supervisor of Elections, Mohammed Saneem on alleged fraud payments to the Electoral Commission.

Chaudhry in a statement said on 21 December 2021, a complaint on this issue was lodged with the FICAC by the FLP, Unity Fiji and the Freedom Alliance Party.

Chaudhry said the three parties asked for FICAC to investigate allegations that Saneem as Secretary to the Electoral Commission had facilitated fraudulent claims of payments to the former chairman of the Electoral Commission Suresh Chandra for sitting allowances at the rate of $500 per sitting, when the Commission did not have any scheduled meetings.

The former Prime Minister said that the payments for these false claims, amounting to several thousand dollars, were made through the issue of cash cheques in blatant violation of Fiji Elections Office financial regulations.

“FICAC replied on 28 January 2022 clearing both Chandra and Saneem of the allegations and describing the allegations as baseless and without any merit,” he said.

Chaudhry said in a letter to him from FICAC, it said that the Commission had initiated a thorough investigation and verified all relevant documents relating to the alleged payments …and wish to advise that there is no evidence whatsoever to support any false or fraudulent payments claimed by Suresh Chandra and Mohammed Saneem.

It went on to say that all payments made were legitimate payments, verified and made in accordance with the Electoral Commission’s Governance and Operational Guidelines.

He said FLP was reliably informed that FICAC had, however, impounded all relevant documents.

“These documents were effectively removed from the records of the Fijian Elections Office. The question is: Why was this necessary if Saneem and Chandra had done nothing wrong? We suspected that Rashmi Aslam was acting on orders from higher authorities,” Chaudhry further stated.

Ilaitia Ravuwai
Ilaitia Ravuwai
Journalist | news@fijilive.com


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