21 Jan 2013

Fiji regime denies claims top pays go via AG's aunt

3:21 pm on 21 January 2013

The Fiji interim government says the salaries of all cabinet ministers are paid and processed by the Ministry of Finance and not by any private entity.

This follows a joint statement by the main political parties and unions which claimed that the regime leaders' salaries were being handled by the aunt of the attorney-general, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

The grouping, calling itself the United Front for a Democratic Fiji, had asked for the disclosure of the salaries and assets of the Prime Minister and the Attorney General after the regime demanded full financial details of those wishing to remain in politics.

The grouping says taxpayers want plain answers as by law there has been accountability.

However, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum has defended the secrecy surrounding some of the tax-payer funded salaries, by saying he and Commodore Frank Bainimarama are not officials of a political party.

Two years ago, a fellow coup maker, Lieutenant Colonel Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba Mara, who is now in Tonga and wanted in Fiji for sedition, claimed the interim prime minister's annual salary was 400,000 US dollars.

The Information Ministry's Permanent Secretary, Sharon Smith-Johns, said at the time that the figure was wrong and that government would no longer go over the rumours to justify his pay.