Party in hot soup again – Saneem refers NFP to FICAC

Supervisor of Elections, Mohammed Saneem. Picture: SUPPLIED

The National Federation Party (NFP) has been referred to the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) for breach of the Electoral Act 2014.

The Supervisor of Elections referred the party to FICAC for breach of Section 144A of the Electoral Act 2014, whereby they failed to comply with a deadline set to remove a video posted on their official Facebook page.

In a statement, the Fijian Elections Office said on July 26, 2022, the SOE had issued a notice to the general secretary of NFP to remove a video from the NFP Facebook page which contained false information.

“The video contained a false statement or information that was designed to mislead Fijians into believing that the Tertiary Education Loans Scheme is a form of slavery and that students will not be able to travel overseas unless their guarantors have cleared their debts,” FEO said.

“The NFP was informed that the Tertiary Education Loans Schemes Regulations 2022 have clearly laid out the policies for loan repayment and permission to travel abroad in sections 27 and 30, respectively.”

FEO said even though the video was made in 2018 and given that it was publicly posted on the NFP Facebook page, it continued to present opportunities to mislead people.

SOE Mohammed Saneem said NFP’s refusal to remove the video from its Facebook page showed a “flagrant disregard for electoral laws”.

“And also proves that they are willing to promote false statements to the public,” he said.

The FEO reminded all political parties and their representatives to ensure information conveyed to members of the public during the campaign period was accurate and substantiated by evidence and facts for a free and fair 2022 General Election.

In response, NFP general secretary Seni Nabou said they were seeking legal advice on Mr Saneem’s claims. “We are taking legal advice on Mr Saneem’s claims,” she said. “We will respond once that advice has been received.”

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