Fiji’s attorney-general, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, caught in extraordinary dispute just a week out from national election

Fiji’s election supervisor has accused one of the country’s major political parties of “misinformation” after it claimed the attorney-general had visited an election printing centre and ordered CCTV cameras be turned off.

The extraordinary dispute comes as political tensions intensify in the lead-up to next week’s national election in the Pacific Islands country.

In a letter to the supervisor of elections (SOE) sent yesterday, the National Federation Party (NFP) said it had been informed that incumbent attorney-general and Fiji First candidate Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum went to Start Printery early on December 1.

It said that election officials asked Mr Sayed-Khaiyum to leave because election ballots were being printed, but he refused.

The letter also claimed the attorney-general refused a police request to vacate the premises, not leaving until after Supervisor of Elections Mohammad Saneem had arrived.

‘Flabbergasted by your allegations’

In the letter to the SOE, NFP officer Dalip Kumar said it was a serious issue.

“It is your responsibility to ensure that, at all times during the printing and distribution process, the ballot papers are stored in ‘highly secure premises’,” Mr Kumar wrote.

A man in suit and a man in grey shirt at a press conference in Suva.
Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem (right) said the claims in the NFP letter were false.(ABC: Lice Movono)

“The premises cannot be considered ‘highly secure’ if the secretary-general of the ruling party can enter those premises and insist on staying when asked to leave.”

However, in a fiery response yesterday afternoon, Mr Saneem said the claims in the NFP letter were fabricated, accusing the NFP of spreading lies.

“I am flabbergasted by your allegations around the information you purport to have received that I have come to any scene … I wish to confirm that no such activity ever took place,” Mr Saneem said.

He said the final delivery of ballot papers from the printery took place on November 28, three days before the alleged incident, in the presence of election observers, party agents and the media.