Politics

Probe On MPs: FijiFirst MPs Told To Declare All Travel And Accommodation Allowances

FijiFirst general secretary Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said no specific MP had been pinpointed and the party was doing its due diligence.
15 May 2020 11:29
Probe On MPs: FijiFirst MPs Told To Declare All Travel And Accommodation Allowances
From left-Minister for Sports Praveen Bala, Government MP, Faiyaz Koya and Attorney General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum outside Parliament on March 27, 2020. Photo: Ronald Kumar.

The Secretary-General of the Parliament of Fiji, Viniana Namosimalua, is expected to give her statement to the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) today.

This is in relation to a complaint lodged by Ms Namosimalua to FICAC that some Members of Parliament had claimed for travel and meal allowance they were not entitled to.

It is believed that FICAC was furnished with a search warrant late yesterday to kick-start the investigation that may implicate at least five MPs.

Not waiting for FICAC’s investigation, FijiFirst party MPs were told to declare all their travel and accommodation allowances by this morning.

The party has taken steps to ensure that members have been compliant to guidelines of the Parliamentary Remuneration Act.

FijiFirst general secretary Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said no specific MP had been pinpointed and the party was doing its due diligence.

“This morning we have asked all our MPs, who have, claimed any travel accommodation allowances and those who have said they live outside the 30-kilometre zone, we have asked them to provide all the documents to us by tomorrow morning,” he said.

“We want to carry out our own assessment because we very much adhere to the principles of accountability and transparency.

“The claims as you know are made individually by the MPs and not the party per se.

“But we obviously are very concerned.  If any of our MPs have done something which is against the guidelines set in the Remunerations Act, that would be taken very seriously by the Party.”

SODELPA leader Sitiveni Rabuka said they had not been notified by Ms Namosimalua and therefore they had not had the need to take any step.

National Federation Party leader Biman Prasad opted not to comment to the Fiji Sun but said if there was anything regarding individual MPs then questions should be emailed.

Ms Namosimalua said the role of the Secretary-General was to ensure the efficient, effective and economical management of Parliament.

“In undertaking this role, it is prudent that we ensure the relevant Acts and guidelines guiding the works of Parliament are followed by all its stakeholders.

“As the matter is with FICAC, this office will make no further comment on the matter,” she said.

Edited by Ranoba Baoa

Feedback: shalveen.chand@fijisun.com.fj



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