Ask Fiji military about ‘guns on plane’ claims, says Sayed-Khaiyum

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Former attorney-general Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum
Former attorney-general Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum . . . "The ministers who are given bodyguards do not have any control over the bodyguards." Image: Jonacani Lalakobau/The Fiji Times

By Meri Radinibaravi in Suva

Former attorney-general Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has told The Fiji Times to ask the Republic of Fiji Military Forces about claims that his bodyguards were allowed to take guns on to Fiji Link flights without proper authorisation.

“I understand that there’s some enquiries going on regarding that so I don’t know whether you want to have trial by media, making comments on those sorts of matters,” Sayed-Khaiyum said.

“I understand that the Minister for Home Affairs made some comments on that so I don’t think it’s prudent to make comments on that except to say that when we’re assigned bodyguards, those bodyguards are assigned to us by the RFMF.

“The ministers who are given bodyguards do not have any control over the bodyguards, what the bodyguards have, what they don’t have — that’s what you should understand.

“And those are the questions you need to direct to those people whose bodyguards are under the directives of whoever else it is.”

Speaking exclusively to The Fiji Times earlier this year, Emily Simmons, a former Fiji Link premier service team member, said airline staff had initially raised concerns with management when Sayed-Khaiyum’s bodyguards’ firearms were taken on board domestic flights without proper approval.

She said the proper procedure was for ground staff to sight written approval from the Civil Aviation Authority of Fiji (CAAF) and the airline.

CAAF acting CEO Theresa O’Boyle-Levestam said CAAF had not issued any approvals to Fiji Airways for the carriage of firearms for Sayed-Khaiyum’s bodyguards.

Fiji Airways managing director and CEO Andre Viljoen had said there were “regulatory approved processes and procedures” for the carrying of dangerous goods which “are followed strictly in every instance”.

Meri Radinibaravi is a Fiji Times reporter. Republished with permission.

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