Fiji’s Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions and State Counsel Elizabeth Rice requested the court time to verify both the medical documents and the medical center from which they originated in the case involving the former Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.
She raised the issue in court today when defense counsel Gul Fatima informed the court that Sayed-Khaiyum was still abroad for further medical treatment, with the doctor’s report suggesting that his return might not occur until after December.
Sayed-Khaiyum had been granted a bail variation in mid-September, allowing him to travel overseas for medical tests and procedures. He was required to return to Fiji by October 26 and surrender his passport. Rice argued that his failure to appear in court constituted a technical breach of his bail variation. She also noted the medical report, which indicated that Sayed-Khaiyum had undergone tests on October 12. She raised questions about the delay between the grant of the variation in mid-last month and the date he sought medical tests since he had left the country in mid-September based on an application that suggested the urgency of his medical tests and procedures. She also questioned why the application to request further bail variation was not submitted earlier.
While Gul Fatima offered to address Rice’s concerns, Chief Magistrate Wahleen George, citing a prior engagement, could not accommodate a response at that time. She suggested resuming the discussion in court next week. In response, Rice requested more time to conduct background checks on the medical documents and the clinic.
Chief Magistrate Wahleen subsequently adjourned the case to 9am on November 16, allowing the parties to gather and return to court with all the information.
She also informed the court that if Sayed-Khaiyum does not return by mid-January, alternative measures may be taken to ensure his return to the country to answer to the charge.
Sayed-Khaiyum is charged with abuse of office relating to the review and approval of former Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem’s remuneration.
It is alleged that between June 30 and July 12, 2022, while acting as the Prime Minister of Fiji, Sayed-Khaiyum signed a Deed of Variation and Addendum between the Government and the then SOE, agreeing to pay Saneem’s taxes without the proper approval of the Constitutional Offices Commission and the Fiji President.
Sayed-Khaiyum pleaded not guilty to the charge.