Former G-S ‘still a leader’ in the party

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FijiFirst party member and former education minister Premila Kumar and former general secretary Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum. Picture: FIJI TIMES ONLINE

FijiFirst party member and former education minister Premila Kumar says former general secretary Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum remains a leader in the party.

However, she could not comment on when he was expected to return to the country. Mr Sayed-Khaiyum departed for Australia late last month.

“I have no comment on that,” she said when asked when he was expected back.

During a press conference this newspaper asked if FijiFirst (FF) members were concerned that their most vocal advocate and leader was absent from the country and how it was impacting on the party.

“He is still a leader. “It is the festive season, people are entitled to travel.

“They are entitled to spend their holiday with their friends and family.

“And you have also heard a lot of other things, like for example, this office was closed.

But you can see the office is open and if you open this door (indicated a door to the inner office) you will see people inside so nothing has changed from that perspective.”

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum was nominated to the Constitutional Offices Commission by Opposition Leader and FF leader Voreqe Bainimarama.

He attended the first meeting virtually and as a result lost his seat in Parliament after being deemed a public officer as defined in Section 63 of the 2013 Constitution.

Mr Bainimarama later suggested Mr Sayed-Khaiyum would continue as general secretary of FFP, however, under section 14(1)(b) of the Political Parties (Registration Conduct Funding and Disclosures Act 2013) a ‘public officer’ is not eligible to be a political party official.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum then resigned from COC and Mr Bainimarama nominated Tupou Draunidalo as his replacement nominee.

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