Monday, March 27, 2023
601 ad

COC process lacked natural justice: Saneem

Former Supervisor of Elections, Mohammed Saneem says he resigned from the position because he found that the process followed by the Constitutional Offices Commission (COC) lacked natural justice, good governance and certain members failed to adhere to the principles enshrined in the Fijian Constitution.

Saneem in a statement said he resigned on Tuesday, 31 January 2023 and highlighted several critical issues that he now needs to make public.

“The obvious conflict of interest of three members of the COC. This, however, appears to have been disregarded by COC to my prejudice. The complaint lacked any substance and ought to have been rightfully dismissed.”

He claimed that as a bipartisan constitutional body, COC’s fundamental duty is to uphold the principles of natural justice and fairness in dealing with any matter that comes before it.

“The COC did not consult or inform the Electoral Commission of the matter as is required, and instead decided to leave the FEO to be operationally managed by Directors.”

“I am also aware that the Attorney-General has directly held meetings with officers of the Fijian Elections Office, despite the FEO being an independent institution.”

“This is unprecedented as anything to do with the FEO ought to be done through the Supervisor of Elections. No other Attorney-General since I have been in the Fijian Elections Office has ever held such meetings.”

Saneem said these meetings took place without any form of written correspondence or official request.

“While I was suspended on a Complaint from political parties in relation to certain court cases, I was surprised when Director Operations, Anaseini Senimoli (who had already met the Attorney General in my absence) informed me on 19 January 2023 that she cannot speak to me due to the Tribunal investigation.”

He said the Supervisor of Elections is also the Secretary to the Electoral Commission and  information and documents of the Electoral Commission are under the sole custody of the Secretary and his secretariat team.

“Staff of the FEO do not have access to the deliberations of the Electoral Commission. The FEO, through the SoE reports to the Electoral Commission and is bound by the decisions of the Electoral Commission.”

“The minutes and records of the Electoral Commission are confidential and not available to FEO staff or any other person to readily access.”

“Only those with legal authority are entitled to access the same. It is my fear that during my suspension, there has been a pillaging of all confidential documents by staff of the FEO which ought to have remained confidential.”

“In my letter of suspension, His Excellency, the President had directed me to hand over all my official property to Director Corporate, Sanjeshwar Ram. It was expected that all such equipment will be retained safely until the process concluded.”

“On 24 January 2023, my official phone was switched on and the ‘Viber’ application was installed. Sanjeshwar Ram had either himself or through a third party attempted to access confidential information from my official device. Rightfully, the equipment should have been handed to the Electoral Commission who are my supervisory body.”

“My Executive Assistant was directed to clear my office despite the fact that I remained the Supervisor of Elections, albeit suspended. I had not been removed from my position, and there was no need to clear my office.”

He said on 25 January 2023, staff from the FEO delivered his personal items to his house.

“I was aggrieved to find that verses of the Holy Quran which were hung in my office were placed in a box containing shoes.”

“The manner in which my office was cleared was a sign that staff of the FEO had been told that I would not be returning to my position.”

“Ana Mataiciwa was then appointed Acting Supervisor of Elections, and which acting appointment was made without consultation with the Electoral Commission as required under section 76(4) of the Fijian Constitution.”

“There are various issues that I have highlighted above which I will also bring to FICAC’s attention in due course through complaints against relevant persons,” he added.

Reginald Chandar
Reginald Chandar
Head of News & Sports |


Planned works to affect water suppl...

Planned works in the greater Labasa area will affect water supply s...

RBF maintains adequate level of for...

The Reserve Bank of Fiji remains committed to delivering its mandat...

Gold Coast buildup for Junior Bula ...

The Digicel Junior Bula Boys will be playing three build up matches...

Main focus is on Ireland, says Fuli...

Fijiana 7s Coach Saiasi Fuli says their main focus in Hong Kong 7s ...
Fijilive Ad