THE FijiFirst political party general secretary and Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said it was unfair to say he had a conflict of interest between his party role and his roles as Minister Responsible for Elections and as A-G.
He made the remarks while the FijiFirst party was campaigning in Rewa at the Dreketi District School.
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said nobody ever complained that former prime ministers Laisenia Qarase and Sitiveni Rabuka were ministers for elections during their time in power and were also political party leaders.
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum was questioned by Rewa chief Ro Filipe Tuisawau on his role as the Attorney-General and Minister Responsible for Elections. Ro Filipe said it was a conflict of interest.
In responding to Ro Filipe's statement, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said he did not make decisions for the Elections Office.
"In fact, the minister responsible for elections in 2006 and 2001 was Laisenia Qarase. He was the minister responsible for elections.
"The minister responsible for elections before that was Sitiveni Rabuka. Both of them were leaders of their party and were also responsible for elections," he said.
"Anybody who knows how the Elections Office is run is very simple. I don't tell them what to do, the money that the government gives the Elections Office comes to the Minister Responsible for Elections because that is your money so the Permanent Secretary has to sign out of it.
"The Supervisor of Elections is supervised by the Electoral Commission.
The day-to-day running of the Elections Office is independent. It's in the Constitution."
Mr Qarase, in an article published by this newspaper on May 10, this year, said since independence in 1970, there had never been a minister for elections.
"The reason for this is that both the Electoral Commission and the Office of the Supervisor of Elections must carry out their functions within the laws regulating their operations, with complete independence and without interference from the government in power," he said.