Elections Boss Refers Tabuya and FijiFirst Party Leader to FICAC

Fiji’s Supervisor of Elections Ana Mataiciwa referred two cases of probable electoral breaches to the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC), involving former Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama and Minister for Women Lynda Tabuya, stressing that these referrals do not imply guilt.

Bainimarama’s case involves his continued role as party leader despite his conviction and imprisonment, potentially violating Section 5(3) of the Political Parties Act 2013. On 9 May 2024, former FijiFirst General Secretary Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum announced that Bainimarama would remain Party Leader despite his one-year imprisonment for attempting to pervert the course of justice. Section 5(3) disqualifies individuals sentenced to six months or more in the past five years from being political party office holders. Mataiciwa referred this matter to FICAC under Section 18 of the Electoral Act 2014.

Regarding Tabuya, a complaint suggests a probable electoral breach, making it her second referral to FICAC.

She is the ninth of the current MPs referred to FICAC for similar breaches alongside Charan Jeath Singh, Professor Biman Prasad, Manoa Kamikamica, Siromi Turaga, Aseri Radrodro, Ifereimi Vasu, Semi Koroilavesau, and Faiyaz Koya. Other political figures who have been referred to FICAC to date include SODELPA members Viliame Takayawa, Josaia Gonewai and Semesa Karavaki, People Alliance General Secretary Usaia Waqatairewa, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and Fiji President Ratu Wiliame Katonivere.

Mataiciwa reiterates that the referrals are not admissions of guilt, but rather that the FEO is under a statutory duty to promptly refer such matters to FICAC. She adds that all inquiries regarding these complaints should be directed to FICAC.

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