Fiji’s former attorney general is taken into custody

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SYDNEY, May 1 (Reuters) – Fiji’s former attorney general, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, who is also general secretary of the Pacific island nation’s main opposition party Fiji First, was taken into custody on Monday after being charged with abuse of office, police said .

The charge relates to a complaint lodged by an election official in February, the Fiji police said in a statement.

“Mr Sayed-Khaiyum remains in custody and will be produced in the Suva Magistrates Court tomorrow,” the statement said.

The criminal charge was approved by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution, it added.

The Office of the Director of Public Prosecution did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment outside of office hours.

On its Facebook page, Fiji First showed a video of Sayed-Khaiyum emerging from a police station and declining to answer media questions as he was taken away. Fiji First could not be reached for comment.

Fiji’s former long-serving prime minister Frank Bainimarama pleaded not guilty in a Suva court in March on charges of office abuse, and will face trial.

Bainimarama led Fiji for 16 years until narrowly losing an election in December to a coalition of parties led by current Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka.

Police Chief of Intelligence and Investigation Sakeo Raikaci said in the statement that the police called for “patience with regards to the conduct of investigations of these high profile cases”.

Reporting by Kirsty Needham; Editing by Sharon Singleton

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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