Guns on plane probe – A-G expresses concern over claims

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Attorney General Siromi Turaga during an interview in Suva. Picture: ELIKI NUKUTABU

Attorney-General Siromi Turaga is concerned about claims that the bodyguards of his predecessor, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, did not have proper permission for their guns to be carried on board domestic flights, as Police launched an investigation into the allegations.

Mr Turaga said the authorities would need to look into the legality of the bodyguards’ firearms being carried on the flights.

The police confirmed yesterday that they had begun an investigation, which included an interview of The Fiji Times reporter Felix Chaudhary, whose story was published on Tuesday.

Chief of Intelligence, Investigations and Prosecutions, Assistant Commissioner of Police Sakeo Raikaci confirmed a report to the police had been lodged yesterday.

“The matter is under investigation,” he said.

Speaking exclusively to The Fiji Times earlier this year, Emily Simmons, a former member of Fiji Link’s Premier Service team, said airline staff had initially raised concerns with management when Mr Sayed-Khaiyum’s bodyguards carried firearms on board domestic flights.

She said the proper procedure was for ground staff to sight written approval from the Civil Aviation Authority of Fiji (CAAF) and the airline.

Ms Simmons said once the written approval had been shown, “the magazine (the part of the gun holding bullets) must be ejected and stored separately from the weapon in the cargo hold.”

Ms Simmons and another colleague who spoke to this newspaper on the condition of anonymity said that Fiji Airways management had instructed them to permit the weapons to be brought onto the aircraft and to be kept in the cockpit with the aircraft’s pilots, which they described as a breach of CAAF regulations.

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