A-G clears air on order

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Attorney-General, Siromi Turaga and former Supervisor of Elections, Mohammed Saneem. Picture: FIJI TIMES ONLINE

Attorney-General Siromi Turaga has clarified that the Stop Departure Order against former supervisor of elections Mohammed Saneem was issued by the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC).

He said the complaint against Mr Saneem was lodged with FICAC two days before his planned travel.

“No, it did not come from the Attorney-General,” Mr Turaga said.

“The Stop Departure was issued by FICAC. The complaint was placed with FICAC two days earlier and they had advised me that there was a possibility of a Stop Departure being issued.

“I did not follow it up until the morning he was at the airport. The assessment came from FICAC.”

He said if Mr Saneem is not happy with the decision, he could take the matter to court.

“Look, it’s very simple. He’s not the first to be stopped at the airport. “Anyone that doesn’t agree, they can go to court and challenge the decision. Simple as that,” Mr Turaga said.

On Monday, Mr Saneem lodged a complaint with FICAC against the A-G in relation to the Stop Departure that was placed against him.

In a statement he claimed the A-G did not have the lawful authority to issue any directives to the Fiji Police Force or the Immigration Department to restrain any Fijian from travelling out of the country.

“Based on what I was informed by immigration officials and the Fiji Police Force at the Nadi International Airport, I believe the Attorney-General’s conduct tantamounts to abuse of office,” Mr Saneem said.

“I also intend to lodge a complaint against Director Immigration.

“I have also lodged complaints against three employees of the Fijian Elections Office including the Acting Supervisor of Elections for accessing confidential information from the Electoral Commission secretariat without lawful authority.

“I respect FICAC as an independent constitutional body and look forward to due process taking its course without any interference from any entity or individual.”