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Nawaikula, Fiji Labour Party Sued, File Defence

Nawaikula, Fiji Labour Party Sued, File Defence
Fiji Broadcasting Corporation Chief Executive Officer Riyaz Sayed-Khaiyum on May 23, 2018. Photo: Ronald Kumar
May 24
12:27 2018

Fiji Broadcasting Corporation Limited and its chief executive officer Riyaz Sayed-Khaiyum have filed two court proceedings, one against SODELPA Member of Parliament Niko Nawaikula and one against Fiji Labour Party.

In the first matter, Mr Nawaikula is sued for putting up a Facebook post on December, 21, 2017, at 1.25am titled ‘RIYAZ MUST RESIGN AS ATS CHAIRMAN & GET OUT’.

In the statement of claim filed in the High Court in Suva, lawyer for FBC and Mr Sayed-Khaiyum, Emmanuel Narayan of Patel Sharma Lawyers said it had been months since the post was made on Facebook and it caused reputational damage to FBC and to Mr Sayed-Khaiyum and that Mr Nawaikula published the words out of malevolence or spite towards the plaintiffs.

The statement of claim further states that Mr Nawaikula did not confirm the accuracy of the various assertions made in the post, constituting reckless disregard for the truth and that he further disseminated the statements as widely as possible by continuing to have the post on his Facebook page.

In his statement of defence, which was filed by Mr Nawaikula’s firm Nawaikula Esquire, the Suva lawyer and parliamentarian accepted publishing the post but added that it was only for followers of his page and not the wider public.

In a writ of summons on the second matter, Mr Narayan highlighted the contents of a Facebook post made on the Fiji Labour Party page.

In the Facebook post, the political party claimed that FBC was unable to service its loan of about $21million and that the chief executive officer of FBC had to turn to the Attorney-General “Aiyaz Khaiyum” to “bail him out of this mess and the taxpayers got butchered in the process as an easy way was found to settle the matter …”

The statement of claims filed by Mr Narayan says the post was designed and engineered to cause damage to the plaintiffs.

He further stated that as a result of the post, the plaintiffs were suffering grave reputational damage. He said the chief executive officer of FBC has been greatly injured in his character and reputation and had suffered hatred, ridicule and contempt.

In the statement of defence filed on behalf of FLP by Anand Singh of Singh and Lawyers, the party said FBC’s finances was an issue of public concern. Edited by Epineri Vula

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