Crime & Court

Sayed-Khaiyum vs Nawaikula: FBC Boss Argues Post Caused Disrepute, Damage; Nawaikula says No

FBC and chief executive officer Riyaz Sayed-Khaiyum filed a lawsuit against Niko Nawaikula following a post he wrote on Facebook titled: ‘RIYAZ MUST RESIGN AS ATS CHAIRMAN & GET OUT’.
04 Mar 2020 11:26
Sayed-Khaiyum vs Nawaikula: FBC Boss Argues Post Caused Disrepute, Damage; Nawaikula says No
FBC Lawyer Emmanuel Narayan (left) and FBC chief executive Riyaz Sayed-Khaiyum Opposition Member of Parliament Niko Nawaikula with his two witnesses Mick Beddoes and Richard Lucas outside High Court on March 3, 2020. Photo: Ronald Kumar

The judgment of a defamation case involving Fiji Broadcasting Corporation and its chief executive against a SODELPA Member of Parliament will be delivered on notice by the Civil High Court.

FBC and chief executive officer Riyaz Sayed-Khaiyum filed a lawsuit against Niko Nawaikula following a post he wrote on Facebook titled: ‘RIYAZ MUST RESIGN AS ATS CHAIRMAN & GET OUT’.

The post on December 21, 2017 at 1.25am, had also raised questions in relation to FBC’s $21 million debt to upgrade FBC and why hadn’t the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) investigated.

The matter was called before Civil High Court Judge Justice Brito Mutunayagam.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum and FBC were represented by lawyers Emmanuel Narayan and Noel Lal from Patel Sharma Lawyers while Mr Nawaikula represented himself.

FBC chief argument

On Monday, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said Mr Nawaikula was insinuating that as the FBC chief executive officer, he was a crook, had poor management and was corrupt.

He told the court that his reputation suffered grave damage, his character had been maligned and that his job as FBC chief executive had been brought into public hatred, ridicule and contempt.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum also told the court that he had not caused the strike at ATS but had in fact tried to resolve the situation.

He argued that since it was a social media post, it had a worldwide audience and as a result, the plaintiffs (Mr Sayed-Khaiyum and FBC) had been injured in their credit and reputation and had been brought into public scandal, odium and contempt.

They also claimed that as a result of the posting, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum and the FBC’s business operations had suffered considerably and the plaintiffs continued to suffer losses and damages.

Nawaikula argument

Mr Nawaikula took the stand in the hearing yesterday.

When questioned whether he agreed that his posts were intended to harm the plaintiffs (Mr Sayed-Khaiyum and FBC), Mr Nawaikula disagreed.

He also disagreed that the sole purpose of his posts was to cause reputational damage to Mr Sayed-Khaiyum and the FBC and that because of his post, the FBC had suffered a loss ammounting about $50,000.

He also told the court that he wanted, as the result of the post, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum to be fired.

Mr Nawaikula told the court that it was wrong to say that his post caused the $50,000 loss to FBC as many factors could have caused the loss of income.

He also disagreed when it was put to him by Mr Narayan that Mr Nawaikula’s postings were not a fair comment.

Mr Nawaikula has also highlighted to the court that he had not published or made any apology yet in regards to the issue.

He was also asked whether he was aware or knew the losses FBC made from 2010 to 2015 were projected losses, which was that the board knew about.

Mr Nawaikula told the court that he did not know it was projected losses as it was written as losses and that he did not ask Mr Sayed-Khaiyum about the losses.

When Mr Narayan questioned Mr Nawaikula whether being in Parliament, if he was well versed with how the Government operated, Mr Nawaikula told the court not fully.

He told the court that he did not know how Cabinet worked, but was aware only on the things that were brought to the Parliament.

When Mr Narayan questioned Mr Nawaikula that he knew more than an ordinary person, Mr Nawaikula told the court no.

When Mr Nawaikula was questioned whether his posts would affect Mr Sayed-Khaiyum and FBC’s reputation, he told the court that it was his hope that the reputation was not affected as Mr Sayed-Khaiyum was still employed.

He also told the court that his post had a limited reach of 5000 or 10,000 and claimed that it was foolish to say that anybody could have accessed his post.

However, Mr Nawaikula agreed that it was an open page and could be accessed by anyone who had a Facebook account and internet.

Edited by Ranoba Baoa

Feedbackashna.kumar@fijisun.com.fj



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