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Sayed-Khaiyum lodges complaint against Puleiwai

Former Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has lodged a complaint against the Acting Deputy Commissioner of the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption Francis Puleiwai.

The complaint is in relation to a possible violation of Section 194(1)(h) of the Crimes Act on offences relating to judicial proceedings and Sections 190(e) of the Crimes Act on conspiracy to defeat justice and interference with witnesses.

The letter of complaint has been addressed to the Office of the President, the Office of the Deputy Commissioner FICAC, the Chairperson of the Judicial Services Commission, the Office of the Solicitor-General, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, and the Office of the Chief-Registrar.

Sayed-Khaiyum said there is currently a matter pending in Suva where he is charged along with former Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and Dr Neil Sharma.

He said FICAC is not prosecuting him, nor the two gentlemen and the charges that he and the others are facing have been sanctioned by the ODPP.

Sayed-Khaiyum said the Deputy Commissioner has publicly interfered with the ODPP’s authority and independence to conduct its prosecution without prejudice and interference.

He said Puleiwai has interfered with the prosecutorial and judicial process and has prejudiced his constitutional right of pleading not guilty and claimed that she had flagrantly violated his constitutional right to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty by making such a statement.

“This violation applies to all current and any future cases where I may be charged or faced with litigation, as her statement is not solely limited to a pending case before the Court.”

He said in her zealous attempt to showcase the supposed independence of FICAC, Puleiwai has confirmed, rather publicly, her and her institution’s bias towards him and members of the FijiFirst Government.

Sayed-Khaiyum said Puleiwai’s statement is not only personal interference but given the position she holds as the head of FICAC, it is tantamount to institutional interference as the position taken by her means that neither she nor FICAC can deal with any matters on him or the former Prime Minister with the absence of bias or prejudice.

“As a constitutional officeholder who has been recommended by the JSC, following consultations with the Attorney-General, as His Excellency’s appointee, Puleiwai’s actions are tantamount to misbehaviour.”

“Her statement was not made in good faith and Puleiwai cannot be protected from civil or criminal liability for her statement. I have made a separate complaint to the Judicial Services Commission and the Office of the President.”

Sayed-Khaiyum said her statements are also calculated to lower his reputation and integrity as a legal practitioner.

“Any unbiased and right-thinking individual who has engaged with me during my term as the Attorney-General knows that I have not interfered with independent institutions such as FICAC or any other institution for that matter.”

“Puleiwai’s blatant and flagrant attack on my reputation, my innocence, my constitutional right to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty, my right to a fair trial, and her attack on the independence of judicial process and the prosecutorial authority of the ODPP has compromised all pending criminal charges that have been laid against me, and any future investigations or charges that are laid against me and the former prime minister.”

Sayed-Khaiyum said the separate complaints that he has lodged to the Office of the President, the Judicial Services Commission, and the Legal Practitioners Department should not stop the CID from simultaneously investigating this matter.

He called on CID to investigate this matter as an independent body.

Ilaitia Ravuwai
Ilaitia Ravuwai
Journalist | news@fijilive.com

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