By RAJENDRA CHAUDHRY
Much has been said about the calibre or lack of as it relates to Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum, the Attorney General in the Bainimarama illegal regime. His tenure has been marked by one gaffe or another and when seeking of a description of him, the term “uber fool” comes to mind. William Hazlitt wrote: “There is no one thoroughly despicable. We cannot descend much lower than an idiot.” People of Fiji are now waking up to the idiot that is known as Khaiyum – a person who has little or no substance as a lawyer, let alone being the chief legal officer of Fiji.
Let me narrate a factual example of Khaiyum’s lack of intelligence and that related to the appointment of Aca Rayawa as Director of Public Prosecutions on 31 December 2009. The appointment of the DPP, prior to the 2014 Bainimarama constitution, was made pursuant to the State Services Decree 2009. The relevant part reads: State Services Decree 2009, Director of Public Prosecutions
20.-(1) This section establishes the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.
(2) The Director of Public Prosecutions must be a person who is qualified to be appointed as a judge.
(3) The Director of Public Prosecutions is appointed by the President, following consultation with the Attorney-General.
At the relevant time, the Aiyaz Khaiyum was the Attorney General and remains so. The President took Khaiyum’s counsel before naming Mr Rayawa as the DPP. Rayawa being ever so keen to please his military masters accepted the appointment and with letter in hand, he fronted his predecessor, the former DPP, John Rabuku, and gave him 45 minutes to clear the DPP’s office and this was under police guard and was escorted out of office by 3 police officers on New Year’s Eve 2009. Pursuant to section 20 (2) of the State Services Decree 2009 (supra), the DPP must be a person qualified to be a judge.
The Administration of Justice Decree 2009 lists the qualification/s of a judge as appointed to the Fijian judiciary. The relevant parts of this Decree read: 15. A person is not qualified for appointment as a judge unless he or she:
(a) holds, or has held, high judicial office in Fiji or in another country prescribed by law; or
(b) has had not less than 10 years practice as a barrister or solicitor or not less than 10 years post-admission legal or academic experience in Fiji or in another country prescribed by law. Aca Rayawa was admitted to the Fiji Bar in 2005. At the time of his purported appointment, he had only 5 years post admission experience as a barrister or solicitor. He thus could not qualify to be the DPP. His appointment, by the President, on the advice of Khaiyum was thus unlawful.
Even for acting appointment as a DPP, a person must have 10 years post admission experience as a barrister or solicitor. One cannot be appointed to the position without the requisite 10 year post admission qualification or having served prior as a judge in Fiji or another country. Such contemptuous advice to the President shows the stupidity of Khaiyum and confirms beyond doubt that he is the dumbest Attorney General Fiji has ever had and probably will have till September 2014 at the latest. His improper advice to the President, on Rayawa’s appointment, means that Rayawa’s appointment was unlawful and this being so, all duties that he performed as DPP would also be unlawful. This will now lead to a number of legal challenges, which will strain the already stretched judiciary.
Remember Khaiyum’s earlier act of extreme stupidity when he sought to appoint Adi Koila Nailatikau as the Chairperson of the Constituency Boundaries Commission, around 26 October 2007, when such appointment was clearly unlawful under the 1997 Constitution. In a statement issued on 26 October 2007, Khaiyum wrote: “Attorney General, Minister for Justice, Electoral Reforms & Anti-Corruption Mr Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has publicly apologized for making mistake in announcing Adi Koila Nailatikau as the Chairperson for the Constituency Boundaries Commission (CBC)." “This oversight was clearly one of my own doing,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said. “I regret this oversight and regret that such a mistake was made. Needless to say, the provisions of the Constitution will always be adhered to,” he said.
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said it was not a time to score political points but rather to move the country forward and facilitate the preparation for the elections. Under Section 77 of the Constitution, no person is not allowed to be appointed to the CBC if he or she has at any time during the immediately preceding four years been a member of either the Houses of Parliament, or a Local Authority or any other representative body prescribed by the Parliament or if she is a member of the State Service (Fiji Police Force or Republic of the Fiji Military Forces). My Sayed-Khaiyum said he had already spoken and apologized to Adi Koila and also apologized to the President Ratu Josefa Uluivuda Iloilo.” Khaiyum needs to be sacked.
He clearly has neither the ability nor the tenacity to perform the complex and legally challenging duties of the Attorney General. He is stupid beyond reason or rehabilitation.
His constant blunders, despite holding high office, remind me of the words of Stephen Vizinczey, who said: “Strange as it may seem, no amount of learning can cure stupidity, and formal education positively fortifies it.”
Fijileaks Editor: Rayawa nor Khaiyum could be reached for comments.