Tuesday, September 12, 2017

PRESIDENT MICHEL USES COURT TO PUNISH OPPONENT

Revisited:President James Michel  is using  a compliant Court to punish people who opposed him.

Bernard Sullivan, a supporter of the SNP, has been confined to a police jail for nine days on a court order based on a flimsy and unjustifiable  accusation of having made a threat and inciting violence against the  person of the President because of a comment on his Facebook page.

On March 28, 2011, Sullivan, an avid blogger on Seychelles politics, had referred to the role of James Michel in the coup d’etat of 1977 on his Facebook page. He had referred to the armed overthrow of the legitimate government as an act of treason, with a comment which amounted  to saying that Michel should be brought to justice for it.

On June 9 2011, a State prosecutor brought Sullivan  before the Victoria Magistrate’s Court  and asked that he be remanded in custody. The police have stated by an affidavit placed before the Court that the comment was a threat on the life of the President and said Sullivan’s incarceration was necessary for them to conduct investigations and to prevent him from interfering with evidence.

Sullivan’s lawyer, Bernard Georges, argued that the request was unjustified because the Facebook page had been copied and was available on the internet outside of Sullivan’s control. There was no other evidence that Sullivan could interfere with, hesaid, and the police had had over five weeks to take any action. He pointed out to the Court that the Police had done nothing since March 28 when the alleged threat was made, which would signify that they did not consider it to be a threat at all. (Picture: Sullivan led off to jail)



Georges told the Court that the custody order would be only a means to punish Sullivan pre-emptively, because no charge would be brought or, if brought, would never justify conviction.

Magistrate Brassel Adeline, who is a former official of Mr. Michel’s ruling ‘Parti Lepep’,  ordered remand of nine days in police custody.


Source: SNPseychelles.sc 6-10-11

Friday, September 8, 2017

CAN PAST PRESIDENTS BE TRACKED DOWN AND PROSECUTED?

A letter from Alexia G. Amesbury

In view of recent events and disclosures as a result of the Finance Public Account Committee FPAC, Seychelles finds itself is a position of  possible transnational corruption which has in recent years been elevated to an international offence but in practical terms it is not considered serious enough in order for heads of state or cabinet members to be prosecuted in foreign jurisdictions. There is evidence to suggest that, in certain cases, corruption may take the form of a crime against humanity. This possibility extends significantly the jurisdictional ambit of national courts and empowers the International Criminal Court to consider a case. Moreover, the restorative component of such criminal prosecutions should aim at restoring, through civil mechanisms, the funds illegally appropriated to their rightful recipients, the defrauded local populations, under the principle of self-determination.

The question is, can the actions of a past President, fall into the category of Grand Corruption of kleptocrats, who have pillaged their respective countries and their people of countless billions of dollars?

The Cambridge Dictionary defines kleptocracy as "a society whose leaders make themselves rich and powerful by stealing from the rest of the people.

Navanethem Pillay, former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, says: "Corruption, whether in the public or private sectors, poses a critical threat to the enjoyment of human rights. It weakens institutions, erodes public trust in government and impairs the ability of states to fulfil their human rights obligations".

In the author’s view perpetrators should be tracked down and prosecuted, their assets sold and the proceeds used to alleviate poverty, which in Seychelles currently stands at 40%.

Combating corruption requires a strong, collective effort. Corruption is not a way of life, it is a violation of human rights. It is a crime against humanity and should be treated as such. Based on the revelations of the investigation by the FPAC it is becoming increasingly clear that legislation should be brought in, to create special courts and/or tribunals and if need be special prosecutors to tackle the level of corruption that Seychelles finds itself in, and that should be the first step towards alleviating poverty if the Government is serious about attaining  that goal.

 Another question that is widely discussed is that of immunity from prosecution of past presidents. The answer is to be found in Article 59 (2) of the Constitution, which I quote in full. “Not withstanding article 18(6) or article 19 (1) or (7) or any other law, proceedings such as are referred to in paragraph 1 (the granting of immunity from all criminal and civil claims of a sitting president) may be brought within three years of a person ceasing to hold or discharge the functions of the office of President unless the period prescribed by law for bringing the proceedings concerned had expired before the person assumed or commenced to discharge those functions.”


Alexia G. Amesbury


Thursday, August 24, 2017

"VIRTUALLY NOTHING IS MOVING"

BY PATRICK GEORGES PILLAY (AKA TON PAT)

"Seychelles is greater than me." This statement has often been uttered by the Head of State, Danny Faure. It has also been uttered by yours truly as well as both leaders in the National Assembly. I believe that Seychelles is greater than all the four of us put together and therefore whatever action we take as leaders must be in the interest of Seychelles FIRST and not in the interest of our own agenda or that of our political party.

Sole protester on the day of the Solar Eclipse and new moon
I need not explain why I joined Ryan Moncherry in his protest in Central Victoria on Tliesday 22 August 2017. However, I wish to do precisely that so that there is no misunderstanding on either side of the political divide, especially as I have had mixed reactions from different people. Let me start by stating a number of facts:

1. LDS in its post-September 2016 political campaign has said time and again that it will fight for early presidential elections since Mr. Faure is not an elected President but got to State House through the 'pas baton' provision in our Constitution. This has since been amended and that is the end of it.

LDS Chairman leads the protest for fresh Presidential elections in September 2016
2. Early on Tuesday morning, I mailed the Chairman of the LDS Council, Roger Mancienne, to inform him that I will be joining Ryan Moncherry in his protest at midday in my personal capacity and as Leader of Lalyans Seselwa. I recognized that I had neither the blessing nor the endorsement of the LDS Council to do what I was planning to do. Ryan Moncherry did a solo protest and when I learnt about it I was full of admiration and pride for this young man wrho has been an ardent supporter of our party 'Lalyans Seselwa' from its inception. Let me add 'en passant' that even when he had his barber's shop on Espace Building, I used to go there for my haircut and the trimming of my beard.

3. I must be loud and clear in saying that I have nothing against Mr. Faure, Mr. Meriton or Mrs. Mondon. If truth be told, I consider them as friends and work wrell with them. This fact must be obvious to all Seychellois as I sit on various committees with them and contribute fully to the discussions.

4. At no time have I said the President Faure must resign. Ryan and others who joined him have said so and I respect their views. On the board, that I carried was printed on one side "We want fresh Presidential elections" and on the flip side "We want an elected President." I will explain further down what I really wish for Seychelles...

5. One of the mails I received referred to "violent civil disobedience campaign." Let me make it clear that at no time have I said (or for that matter thought) about civil disobedience. As for violence, anybody who knows me will be very aware that I am a follower of Mahatma Ghandhi's Ahimsa i.e. non-violence. I am absolutely against violence in any form...

As a matter of fact I made it clear to all who joined Ryan on Tuesday that this will be a silent and peaceful protest. There will be no speeches, no music, no shouting or disturbance of the public at large.

Let me now explain why I joined Ryan Moncherry in his protest.

Speaker of the National Assembly of Seychelles joins protest
At the last sitting of the National Assembly, before we adjourned for recess I made a strong statement from the Chair about lack of service delivery from certain quarters in the Executive branch of Government. I targeted two ministries: Education and Agriculture. I will not repeat what I said.

This Monday 21 August I did my usual clinic' at Anse Boileau and one of the last constituents wrhom I saw brought to my attention his case which can best be described as the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back. There is a young man who is an inhabitant of Anse Boileau who is specialised in the field of Education. He has a B Ed. From Australia and a Master's in 'Educational Leadership' from a university in New Zealand. This gentleman, and indeed he is one, has been in the country since November 2016 and all this time he has been doing what we in creole would call "bous trou." I have been a facilitator of learning (commonly called a teacher, I have been an educational administrator, I have been PS (Editor's note: principal secretary) of Education and I have been a Minister of Education. After listening to this young man with so much potential in educational leadership being sidelined when there is a dire need for male role models and strong and skillful male head teachers in a system that is in disarray especially in regards to indiscipline in secondary school, to say that I wras angry w’ould be a gross understatement. There and then I decided that I will now go into a higher gear to have a change of Government. This is when I decided to join Ryan Moncherry and ask for early and fresh Presidential elections.

My quest is simple to understand. I as leader of 'Lalyans Seselwa' do not believe that the co-habitation is working. I have been for it in the interest of Seychelles and have done my best to make it work. However I now firmly believe that the Executive is taking us for a ride and virtually nothing is moving (for reasons best known to themselves). In the case of the Educationalist from Anse Boileau - he had seen and met with President Danny Faure, with Minister Joel Morgan and Dr. Odile de Commarmond and still one year on he has not been given a headship even when he has proven experience as a Deputy Headteacher. Is this a repeat of the saga of the ex-A Level students teaching in the secondary schools for peanuts? ... I would like to believe that complacency is so pervasive in the public service simply because there is no leadership. Take the case of the Police. If I start writing about the lack of leadership in the police you will be reading until tomorrow’ night. And who is the Commissioner of Police answerable to? Who is his boss? You see my dear friends this country needs fresh Presidential elections within a reasonable time frame, at least by June 2018 and not in 2020.

On a final note: Regarding President Faure. He agreed and assented to scrapping the article in the Constitution that permitted the famous 'pas baton'. He should then take the matter to its logical conclusion and have fresh presidential elections. It is not healthy if we are on a journey towards a modern and robust democracy to have a selected or 'pas baton' President representing us at Summits overseas. We need an elected President. This is what credibility and good governance is all about.

After all if Mr. Faure calls for fresh presidential elections in let us say April 2018 and he participates as a presidential candidate, he may actually win. Why does he have to wait for the end of his 'mandate'? Who gave him this 'mandate' anyway?

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

REPORT ON THE SPECIAL AUDIT OF PAYMENTS BY NDEA AND FIU


Introduction

1. The National Drugs Enforcement Agency (NDEA) was set up under the Act 20 of 2008, which came into force in August 2008, to lead, manage, co-ordinate and implement the national efforts of the Republic to combat drug offences. Responsibilities of the NDEA falls under the Chief Officer appointed by the President under the Act. Effective October 2016, the statutory functions of the Agency was transferred from the President to the Minister responsible for Home Affairs vide S.I.73 of 2016.

2. The Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) was created under the Anti-Money Laundering Act, 2006 and was established as a Unit within the Central Bank of Seychelles. Effective 18 August 2008, the Unit was formed into a Body Corporate vide the Anti-Money Laundering Amendment Act, 2008. The primary objectives of the Unit is to monitor, train and enforce compliance by reporting entities with the obligations imposed in Part 2 of the Act. The Director of the Unit reports to the President, pursuant to Part 3, Section 16 (8) of the Anti-money laundering (Amendment) Act, 2008.

3. The Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee requested the intervention of the Auditor General vide letter dated 27 March 2017, to investigate a number of payments made by the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) and the National Drugs Enforcement Agency (NDEA) from funds allocated in the national budget.

4. The FPAC informed that it was involved in an investigation and asked the Auditor General to provide detailed information on payments, specifically consultancy (local and foreign) and other fees made by the above two entities from 2007 to 2016 with with special emphasis on the remittances to two companies, namely, Solas Beo and Tech Ltd.

5. Taking into consideration the request, Office of the Auditor General (OAG) undertook a special audit of the accounts and records of the NDEA and FIU (Entities), as mandated by Article 158 of the Constitution and under Section 22 (1) of the Auditor General Act, 2010, in order to submit a special report to the National assembly.

6. The principal audit objective was to carry out sufficient audit procedures to establish as to whether (a) the selected transactions were relevant to the Entities ; (b) adequate and satisfactory books of accounts and records were maintained by the Entities in relation to the execution of the transactions; (c) the entities complied with the prescribed financial procedures (i.e. Financial Instructions, Accounting Manual, PFMA, 2012 and PFMA Regulations, 2014) and the relevant legislative provisions (i.e. tax and procurements); and (d) adequate internal controls existed in the Entities to ensure integrity of financial transactions and accounting records.

Methodology

7. The audit was mainly conducted as follows:
• Obtained all payment transactions from the Treasury Information System (TIS) relevant to the Entities for the period under audit (2009-2016);
• Selected transactions for further testing placing emphasis on foreign or local consultancy services of recurring nature charged to the account codes and significant and repetitive overseas procurements;
• Scrutinised the payments details in relation to respective payment vouchers, remittance advice, bank transfer payment voucher (BKTR), invoices, contract agreements and other supporting documents, including payment instructions to the Ministry of Finance. Further, Audit scrutinised the invoices to verify their genuineness/authenticity, relevance to the Entities and as well as the company details, contact information and bank account details of the payees.
• Assessed the processes followed against the prescribed financial policies, procedures regulations and the control environment;
• Interviewed the Director and the Head of Administration and Finance of FIU and the Director of Human Resources and Administration at the NDEA for obtaining information.
Scope limitation

8. Audit could not obtain supporting documents, such as, payment vouchers, invoices and other relevant documents in respect of 2009 and 2010 although the treasury system revealed some payment transactions for the 2 years. Thus the audit covered the details of payments for the period 2011 to 2016 only. Audit did not examine the records of the Central Bank of Seychelles to establish as to whether the foreign exchange payments selected from the Treasury records were actually remitted to the respective company/personal accounts as appearing in the relevant documents. Instead, reliance was placed on the BKTR documents raised by the Treasury for the payments having been effected. Furthermore, Audit could not obtain all the information it required from the Entities in view that the senior management personnel had left the Entities at the time of the audit.

Disclaimer

9. The report that follows discusses the exceptions that came to light in the course of the audit during the period April to June 2017. It is to be noted that mentioning of the names of any business entity, person, or an individual made in this report is without any prejudice or ill will to such persons but only for the purpose of better understanding of the issues arising from the audit. An audit report is not based on proof but sufficient and reasonable evidence collected during the audit exercise and as the matters appeared to the auditors with sufficient knowledge of government financial systems and procedures.

Summary of conclusions

10. A contract for consultancy service would typically contain terms and conditions of deliverables, timelines, fees, arbitration, etc. In the absence of the contracts with Solas Beo Inc, Tech Limited, Calendula, and Barry Galvin & Son (for the period prior to 05.01.2015) Audit could not determine the justification for the variable amounts paid to these companies.

11. The invoices for payments of services appeared to have been raised internally, for example in one instance, an invoice supposedly issued by Calendula was in fact on Solas Beo letter head with particulars of bank account of Calendula.

12. The nature of services provided could not be determined as they were not specified, nor had any reports been kept by both Entities as evidence of the services provided/received. Generally, there was a lack of documentation of services required and the receipt of such
services in support of significant financial transactions. However, if the documentation was done, then there was a failure to retain the same for future reference and audit purpose.

13. There were indications of significant management influence with limited scope for segregation of functions/duties in both Entities. All payment documents including Application for Payment in Foreign Currency – Central Bank of Seychelles (SWIFT) payment instructions forms were completed and submitted by the two Chief Officers (Head of entities), to the Ministry of Finance for endorsement and ultimately forwarded to the Central Bank for payment. It appeared that both Entities and the MoF approved the above applications for transfer of funds to various accounts in the absence of a documented proof of receipt of services as per the relevant contracts but only on the basis of the invoices.

14. Requests for exemption of the consultancy services from the procurement regulations, when submitted were approved on the basis that it stated “for reasons of state security”. Furthermore, the requests were approved on the basis of invoices, which was after the services have been delivered but not prior to procurement, as normally the case.

15. Where the consultancy contracts were drawn with existing expatriate senior personnel on the payroll and paid in Seychelles Rupees, it is not clear if payments on contract in foreign exchange related to extra duties/services or additional remuneration for the same position.

16. Calendula and Tech Limited were registered as International companies (offshore company-IBC) with the Financial Services Authority through a local agent and deriving revenue from and operating in the Seychelles. Although IBCs are not subject to tax, it is not clear whether these companies were liable to business tax.

Recommendations

17. According to circular No. 1 of 2015 issued in December 2015 by Procurement Oversight Unit of (POU) the Ministry of Finance, Trade and the Blue Economy and pursuant to Section 10(1) and (2) of the Public Procurement Regulations 2014, copies of signed contracts, which also includes the provision of consultancy services, approved by the National Tender Board (award Committee) must be submitted to the Procurement Oversight Unit. In addition, the Procurement Oversight Unit, Circular No 1 issued in November 2011, states that the POU will not entertain any request for “retrospective approval” for an adopted procurement procedure. The Procurement Oversight Unit must ensure that these provisions are applied in all procurement cases involving national budgetary provisions.

18. The Ministry of Finance must ensure that prior to endorsing the ‘Application for Payment in Foreign Currency – Central Bank of Seychelles (SWIFT)’ payment instructions forms for foreign exchange payments, checks are performed to ensure that valid contracts are available, amounts paid are in accordance with obligations and further, approval/exemptions have been obtained from the POU where applicable.

19. The Entities (FIU/NDEA) must ensure that appropriate documentation of the financial transactions are kept and procedures stipulated in the Public Finance Management Regulations/Financial Instructions are adhered so as to provide an audit trail as well as to safeguard financial records in good condition for reference in the future. These should cover fixed assets and inventory items owned and operated by the Entities.

20. Where there are doubts with regards to the liability for any tax by the IBCs registered in Seychelles, doing business in Seychelles and earning an income in Seychelles, the matter should be referred to the SRC for a determination. Similarly, the liability for personal income tax (PIT) of the personnel who were also on the payroll of the two Entities or elsewhere in Seychelles, needs to be established in consultation with the SRC. Also, the withholding tax liability of the non-resident legal service provider must be referred to SRC for a ruling. These are matters that would require the close attention of SRC as similar cases may exist in other governmental entities, particularly, consultancy services.

System outline

21. The Head of Administration and Finance of FIU was responsible for the accounting function and verifying all invoices for receipt of goods/services. The Director (Chief Officer) approved all invoices, payment vouchers as well as completed Application for Payment in Foreign Currency – Central Bank of Seychelles (SWIFT) payment instructions forms to be submitted to the Ministry of Finance. In the case of NDEA, Director of Human Resources and Administration was responsible for the accounting function and certifying all invoices for payment. The Chief Officer approved all invoices, payment vouchers and Application for Payment in Foreign Currency – Central Bank of Seychelles (SWIFT) payment instructions forms to be submitted to the Ministry of Finance. The Ministry of Finance approved the completed forms and forwarded them to the Central Bank of Seychelles for effecting transfers. Once effected, the CBS advised the Ministry of Finance/Treasury through a debit note which was used by the Treasury to raise the Bank Transfer Payment document (BKTR) and the relevant voucher to update the general ledger. It is from this ledger that Audit extracted the financial transactions for further examination in relation to their payment documents. However, the Treasury ledger did not show the financial transactions of both FIU and NDEA for the years prior to 2009 whereas for the payments effected prior to 2011 by NDEA the records were unavailable according to the Director of Human Resources and Administration of the Agency.
Solas Beo Inc

22. The NDEA and FIU effected regular quarterly payments to Solas Beo Inc, which according to online search was a registered company, incorporated in Mauritius on 10.12.2007 bearing company ID no number C076299. The registration address of the company was C/O Beresford Trust & Corporate Services Ltd, 1001, Alexander House, 35 Ebene, Cybercity, Mauritius. At the time of the audit, the offshore company’s status was Active. The Directors and Shareholders of the Company could not be determined. See Attachment 1 for relevant information.

23. The Central Bank was requested to effect payments to the beneficiary’s (Solas) Euro bank account (number 7643621) with the Barclays Bank, Seychelles, following the approval of the Ministry of Finance on the basis of payment request/instructions submitted by the Chief Officers of FIU and NDEA.

24. All payments to Solas Beo Inc for the period 2009 to 2015 by FIU amounted to SR 41,999,846 as appeared from the relevant documents examined while all payments from NDEA for the period 2009 to 2015 amounted to SR48,765,843, with a combined total of SR 90,765,689. See Attachment 2 for details of the payments examined.

Findings

25. Of the sum of SR48,765,843 by NDEA, Audit could not verify a sum of SR13,262,083 incurred during 2009 (SR6,111,920) and 2010 (SR7,150,162) in view that there were no supporting documents. See Attachment 2 (a) page 2 for details.

26. Fees invoiced for ‘expatriate services’ and corresponding payments had increased significantly over the years, from €47,500 in 2009 to €88,000 in 2015, in the case of FIU without a documented justification. In addition to ‘expatriate services’, also included on invoices were variable amounts ranging from €28,500 to €58,750 (FIU) charged as “special duties”. The same applied to NDEA with sums ranging from €97,000 to €165,000 per quarter. However, nature/details of the work performed were not specified on invoices or by way of reports or some other documentation.

27. Payments to Solas Beo were effected on a quarterly basis in variable amounts by both Entities. However, Audit could not determine the basis upon which fees were calculated in view that invoices issued merely stated “expatriate services” for the respective quarter and were vague, which did not permit the identification of the nature of services provided. Audit could not obtain the relevant contracts (or a valid copy of the same) stipulating the terms and conditions despite requests made to the Director FIU and the Director Human Resources and Administration of NDEA.

28. Of 20 payments made by NDEA, 18 were not supported by original invoices. Further, in all cases, information typically found on invoices, such as, contact information (telephone no., fax and e-mail address) invoice number and signature of the company representative authorising the invoices were not found stated on the face of the invoices.

29. In all instances, in the case of FIU, Audit did not find the approval of the Procurement Oversight Unit and National Tender Board nor were requests submitted by the FIU, contrary to the requirement of the Public Procurement Act, 2009 and Public Procurement Regulations, 2014, (regulations 9 & 11, Schedule 1) in respect of consultancy services. In the case of NDEA, in 14 out of 20 payments were without the approval of POU. Where the POU approval was sought, it was noted that, approval was sought retrospectively at the end of the quarter on the basis of the invoice and not prior to soliciting of services.

30. The Ministry of Finance approved ‘Application for Payment in Foreign Currency – Central Bank of Seychelles (SWIFT)’ payment instructions form was not sighted in one case and the relevant BKTR document was not sighted in 18 cases in the case of FIU. In the case of NDEA, the relevant BKTR document was not sighted in 7 cases.

31. In two cases of FIU, invoices paid in 2009 (i.e. 23.11.2009 for Euro 45,650 and 20.09.2009 for Euro 47,500) were signed by one Mr Joseph Cully as Director of Solas Beo. Further audit scrutiny revealed that in 2010, Mr Cully was on the payroll of FIU as an ‘asset agent’. The payroll for the year 2009 was not available for audit inspection to confirm if the said person was in fact in employment with FIU when signing the invoice on behalf of Solas Beo and the services invoiced were not already being performed internally by the said persons in post.

Tech Company Ltd

32. Tech Limited was registered with the Financial Services Authority on 01 April 2011 as an international business company (company number 088982). Although requested, Audit was not provided with particulars of the Directors and Shareholders by FSA stating that the information was not available on the company file. It is to be noted that the certificate of official search from FSA dated 28.04.2017 indicates the company as “not in good standing”. See details in Attachment 3. According to banking details on the invoices, all transfers were effected by the Central Bank on behalf of NDEA to a Euro account (2801001340302) with ABC Banking Corporation Ltd in Mauritius.

33. All payments to Tech Limited for the period 2013 to 2016 by NDEA amounted to SR18,421,559 as appeared from the relevant documents examined; details in Attachment 4.

Findings

34. It was noted from the invoices examined that Tech company was charging for “Project Development in relation to classifieds Project SRU” from July 2013 to Oct 2015 on a quarterly basis at a fee of US Dollar 142,548.76 initially which was then revised to €137,000 in 2015 and further increased to €137,740 in 2016. The nature of services as shown on invoices was “personnel, investigative and legal services”. The Agency, however, could not produce the contract (or a valid copy of it) with the above company to confirm the nature of services and other terms and conditions of obtaining such services.

35. Further, the contact details, such as, the complete address of the company, telephone numbers and email address and invoice number, which are typically found on an invoice were not included on the face of the invoices. The signature of the representative of the company was also not shown on the invoices. Further, 3 out of 10 invoices were not original but copies.

Calendula Ltd.

36. Calendula Ltd was registered with the Financial Services Authority (FSA) on 05 March 2013 as an International Company (company number 120570).Audit requested particulars of the Directors and Shareholders and was informed by FSA that the information was not available on the company file. It is to be noted that the certificate of official search from FSA (28.04.2017) indicates the company as “not in good standing”. See Attachment 5. According to banking details on the invoice, all transfers were effected by the Central Bank on behalf of FIU to a Euro account number (002801001340402) with ABC Banking Corporation Ltd in Mauritius.

37. All payments to Calandula Ltd for the period 2015 to 2016 by FIU amounted to SR13,060,944 as appeared from the relevant documents examined; see details in Attachment 6.

Findings

38. The Unit could not produce the contract ( or a valid copy of it) with Calendula for the Audit to determine the nature of services expected to be provided/received and the amounts payable according to the contract. The Unit received two invoices per quarter in variable amounts, one for ‘expatriate services’ and the other for ‘special duties and operations’.

39. Invoices lacked pertinent details, such as, complete address of the company, contact details (telephone, email address/website), invoice number and the signature of company
representative. The initial invoice dated 15.07.2015 for Calendula was an invoice drawn on Solas Beo headed paper which was crossed out by hand with the name “Calendula” inserted. See Attachment 7 for details.

40. Application for Payment in Foreign Currency – Central Bank of Seychelles (SWIFT) payment instructions forms approved by the Ministry of Finance were not sighted in 7 out of 13 payments made. In addition, BKTR document was not sighted in 10 out of 13 payments made.
Christopher Mooney

41. Mr Mooney was employed as a ‘senior asset agent’ with FIU from 01 October 2011 to April 2016 and was paid a local monthly salary of SR 27,069. Effective, June 2013, Mr Mooney received a supplementary payment of €15,000 on a quarterly basis, charged as foreign consultancy, which according to payment vouchers related to his services as ‘operation consultant’ to SeyPIC (Seychelles Piracy Intelligence Cell). Payments were effected to Mr. Mooney’s Euro account (0101043169) with Barclays Bank, Seychelles.

42. All payments to Mr. Mooney charged to overseas consultancy services, excluding salaries, during the period June 2013 to April 2016 was equivalent to SR.3,071,223, as appeared from the relevant documents examined; see details in Attachment 8.

Findings

43. According to his employment contract dated 28.12.2013, effective for the year 2014, his post title was stated as ‘Senior Asset Agent’ despite the relevant invoices showing as ‘Operation Consultant’.

44. Personal Income Tax (PIT) was not deducted and remitted to the Seychelles revenue Commission from the fees paid in foreign exchange in respect of which the employee would have been liable. Total liability for the period 2013 to April 2016 was SR460,683; (SR3,071,223*0.15).

45. Application for ‘Payment in Foreign Currency – Central Bank of Seychelles (SWIFT)’ payment instructions forms were not sighted in 3 out of 13 payments made.

Barry Galvin and Son

46. Barry Galvin & Son was a Solicitor, based in Ireland responsible for providing legal services to the FIU. Fees of €40,000 in 2013, which increased to €50,000, quarterly, charged by the above were paid to his account with Allied Irish Bank (22612010) in Cork, Ireland. In addition, Mr Galvin claimed for ancillary fees, such as, travelling costs, subsistence allowances and others, the re-imbursement thereof was also transferred to his account in Ireland.

47. All payments to Barry Galvin and Sons for the period 2010 to 2016 by FIU amounted to SR 18,319,967 as appeared from the relevant documents examined; see details in Attachment 9.

Findings

48. Other than a letter of appointment dated 05.01.2015, contracts with Barry Galvin & Son dating back to 2013, when the services were solicited could not be produced to Audit to ascertain the terms and conditions including amounts payable although the letter of appointment refers to a contracted services specified in Appendix 1, Appendix 2, Appendix 3, Appendix 4 and Appendix 5, which was stated to be Classified. Audit did not sight these Appendixes nor the contract.

49. In all cases, payments were effected on the basis of proforma invoices instead of originals which is contrary to the Financial Instructions 0520 which states no payment should be authorised unless payment vouchers are supported by the original invoices and/or other suitable documentation such as receipt, GRN and delivery note, etc.

50. There was no evidence to indicate that withholding tax payable on technical services fees by non-residents which would amount to SR2,747,995.13, see details in Attachment 10, was paid to the Seychelles Revenue Commission in accordance with Section 66 (1) of the Business tax Act, 2009, Section (3) of the First Schedule, had he been liable.

51. In 4 cases, the Ministry of Finance approved ‘Application for Payment in Foreign Currency – Central Bank of Seychelles (SWIFT)’ payment instructions form was not sighted. In another 5 cases, BKTR document was not sighted.

Local consultancy

52. One Mrs M.H was appointed as a Consultant Analyst with the FIU effective 01 January 2015 for a period of two years, at a fee of SR.30,000 per month according to a (undated) letter/contract. The role of the Consultant Analyst was to conduct due diligence checks of foreign personnel in relation to travel records, immigration data, work permits and other data available in the department of immigration according to an attachment to the letter mentioned above.

53. All payments to the above person for the period 2014 to 2016 by FIU amounted to SR 960,000 as appeared from the relevant documents examined.

Findings

54. No contract was available prior to 2015 despite payments commencing on 05.06.2014, which totalled SR240,000 up to the end of 2014. The contract was undated and signed by Mrs M.H only; the signature of the Chief Officer was not sighted. According to this letter she was entitled to leave at the rate 1.75 days per completed month of service, not to be accumulated beyond 42 days, implying that it was some sort of employment contract with FIU.

55. Narrative on the invoices indicated ‘general consultancies’ whereas details appended to the ‘letter of contract’ was specifically in relation to ‘immigration consultancies’.

56. Personal Income tax totalling SR144,000 (SR960,000*0.15) was not deducted from the payments totalling SR 960,000 made for the period June 2014 to December 2016.

Daniel Technologies

57. Daniel Technologies is a company in Ireland which supplies security equipment and uniforms to NDEA upon order. All payments to Daniel Technologies for the period 2011 to 2016 by NDEA amounted to SR6,947,386, which was paid to AIB Bank, Dublin (a/c 01610009) as appeared from the relevant documents examined; see details in Attachment 11.

Findings

58. In most cases, the original invoices were not found by Audit in support of the payments made and the supplier’s signature was not found on invoices. Further, the POU approval was not sighted in respect of 15 cases.

59. Various items of supplies paid for could not be traced to inventory records in evidence of receipt of the items purchased. According to the Agency, inventory records were not maintained, contrary to the requirements of Financial Instructions 1203.

60. In 10 cases, the Ministry of Finance approved ‘Application for Payment in Foreign Currency – Central Bank of Seychelles (SWIFT)’ payment instructions form was not sighted while the BKTR document was not sighted in another 25 cases.

Finbarr O’Leary and Thomas Quilter

61. Mr. Finbarr O’Leary was appointed by the Director (signed) as Deputy Director of FIU for a period of 18 months effective 02 April 2015, to cease on 30 November 2016. Similarly, Mr. Thomas Quilter was appointed by the Director (signed) as Director of the FIU under for a period of 24 months effective 10 March 2015. Both officers were paid monthly salaries on the payroll of FIU. Other than monthly salaries both officers received monthly ‘relocation allowances’ charged as consultancy services and paid quarterly. This provision was cited as being “in accordance with the overall service provision contract between State House and the Service Provider, Calendula Ltd.” Relocation allowances were transferred to the respective beneficiaries’ bank accounts in Ireland; Bank of Ireland (40931088) and IPBS (54208089).

Findings

62. Sums paid for relocation allowance varied each quarter ranging from Euro 4,700 to Euro 6,400 per quarter. According to the contract, the terms and rates of allowance was in accordance with the overall service provision contract between the State House and the service provider Calandula Ltd. However, Audit could not ascertain amounts payable as they were not specified in the respective contracts of appointment. Moreover, as the contract with Calandula was not sighted, Audit could not confirm the arrangements.

63. Personal income tax (PIT) which would amount to SR.76,059.30 (SR507,062*0.15) and SR. 132,205.80 (SR881,372*0.15) in respect of Mr Finbarr O’Leary and Mr Thomas Quilter, had they been liable, was not deducted from relocation benefits/consultancy services paid in the sums of SR507,061 and SR881,372 respectively. See details of payments in Attachment 12.

64. Mr O’ Leary was last included on the payroll in November 2016. He was, however, paid a gross salary of SR42,199.95 on 21.12.2016 which appeared to be an overpayment in view he was no longer employed by FIU. The justification for the payment was not documented on the payment voucher and supporting documents.


65. In 2 cases, the BKTR document was not sighted by Audit in respect of the payments made the above personnel.

Niall Scully, Declan Barber(top) and Barry Galvin; the Irish hired by James Alix Michel

Monday, June 26, 2017

FORMER MINISTER DUGASSE LAND SCANDAL


On the 2nd June 2011, two days after a cabinet reshuffle whereby Jacquelin Dugasse was made to retire from public service as Land Minister, Dugasse was given a 99 years lease on over 3000 sq meters of prime land at Roche Caiman next to where Intelvision is situated. The former minister was accorded the property without going through the tender process as is required by law. This has been the hallmark of this government when it comes to top officials of Parti Lepep acquiring government land.



Dugasse, now the new CEO of the James Michel foundation, acquired the lease on V17664 through JaMar Properties Limited. The conditions of his lease on the land are spelt out clearly in the transfer document. There is no annual or monthly fee stipulated in the agreement, so a monthly fee of SR2020 can be derived from the stated lump sum over the 99 years. The property is still undeveloped in 2017. There is no evidence that the agreement has been fully complied with; there is a strong possibility that Dugasse is waiting to cash in on his investment by selling his lease to some rich foreigner. This will be another unfortunate episode in the sad state of affairs concerning State land in Seychelles.


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

NOLINE MUST RESIGN; MANRTEN!


LD555 (yes ironically 555) was sold to the MNA for Inner Islands in 2003 for peanuts from L`Union Estate company Ltd; a government owned parastatal.


In 2010 whilst owning LD555 the MNA for Inner Islands managed to purchase a luxury condominium on Mahe at Chateau Vallon in English River from the Housing Finance Company Ltd(HFC); also a government owned financial body. These apartments were supposed to be allocated to returning graduates.  It is important to note that this went against the well published government land allocation policy and this transfer of the luxury condominium was signed by Charles Bastienne.


In 2014 the Inner Island MNA sold LD555 for SR1.1million thus making a cool SR1 million plus profit. She laughed all the way to the bank on the back of L`Union Estate. Now we know why she indicated in her intervention on the 7th of June  that L`Union Estate is very effective; she benefitted from it! She has a million reasons why it is effective. Corruption is defined as “the abuse of entrusted power for private gain”. This situation was revealed in the National Assembly’s` 3 week record-breaking motion on La Digue brought by the Leader of the opposition.


Sophola had stated in her election campaign that “I will ensure that La Digue gets a new school and hospital, both with modern facilities” however she recently flip flopped on these promises claiming it is not a priority as modern facilities doesn’t help in the care of patients. Sophola is from a diehard SPUP family, claiming even as far back as 1983 she was Executive member in the district.

Abuse of government land must be no longer tolerated and it is time for the people of La Digue to ask her to resign; manrten!

http://candidates.partilepep.com/La-Digue-Inner-Islands/16-meet-Miss-Noline.html


AP

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

JJ SPIRIT FOUNDATION ACCOUNTS UNAUDITED SINCE 2013?

The Deputy Registrar of Companies has written to the JJ Spirit Foundation to point out amongst other issues that the foundation has not submitted its audited accounts since 2013. The Deputy Registrar has only this year received Jj Spirit Foundation's audited account for 2008-2012.


Could this mean that the foundation (which is headed by a man who was none other the president of Seychelles from 2004- October 2016, when he quit barely one year into his third mandate); had not audited its accounts until the PL government lost its majority in the National Assembly and the LDS led 6th NA started to ask questions and investigate into various institutions?

Whatever the reasons are it does not bode well for JJ Spirit Foundation to have not submitted audited accounts before that as its patron should have known better. After all he was preaching transparency and accountability!

The Foundation is also the owner of the Espace building and there again serious questions have been raised. If the foundation is a not for profit organization how come it is advertising the Espace building as a commercial entity? Does the NGO pay taxes?

Another anomaly which one gleans from the letter the Office of Registrar of Companies wrote to JJ Spirit is the fact that the office bearers of the foundation are not listed. Isn't this illegal? Again is this what expects from an organization whose patron was the Head of State?

Var Management and JJ Spirit Foundation JJ Spirit Foundation calls itself an NGO and when it comes to charitable NGOS, one common factor is that they are always finding means of raising funds to carry out their charitable work. Normally an NGO which owns a building like JJ Spirit owns Espace, would have its own management team to ensure things are done properly and with a view towards cutting costs, it would not pay an outside firm to manage its building!



However, when it comes to JJ Spirit Foundation, the contrary seems to be the case. The so called NGO has contracted out the management of the ESPACE building to a company named VAR Management. The shocking part of this deal is that VAR Management is owned by Mr. David Savy, a company named Sirrus Management of which David Savy is the director and Basil Hoareau! Mr David Savy own Sirrus Management.

Espace building was funded in a large part through donations as well as other means. Since it calls itself an organization which does charitable activities for the betterment of the country and its youths, would it not have been proper practice to tender out the management of this building if there was a need for an external team to do this? Have the donors unwittingly funded a milking cow for close associates of PL? Why does Jj Spirit Foundation takes CSR contributions if it can afford to pay a management company?



According to its registration papers VAR Management is a company which can do almost anything from managing buildings to investing in other companies, from doing import and export as well as wholesale and retail and given its connections it could easily muscle out competitors in almost every field of economic activity in this country.

Source: Lavwa Lalyans

Friday, May 26, 2017

SEYCHELLES BE CAREFUL WHO YOU ELECT AS PRESIDENT

Taxpayers will be paying them for the rest of their lives.

As well as 75% pension of their previous salary which is payable in arrears, Ex-Presidents will be entitled to a yearly gratuity, 2 chauffeur driven vehicles including fuel, maintenance , tax and insurance. A personal assistant, private secretary and office assistant. Budget for overseas travel for Ex-President, spouse and bodyguard. In addition, an entertainment allowance maybe prescribed.  Even if they die, their spouse will receive their pension.






Wednesday, May 24, 2017

SEXUAL HARASSMENT; HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH?

By C. Marimba

An incident over the weekend sparks debate about what constitutes sexual harassment in our culture, and whether there should be laws which curtail such behaviours - specifically towards women.

A video was posted on social media over the weekend, featuring proportionally elected member of the National Assembly (MNA) Flory Larue in what can be described as a heated argument with taxi drivers at the quay near where Cat Cocos docks. According to a source, there were about 20 taxi drivers present, when one decided to whistle at Ms. Larue. She in turn responded by informing them that such behaviour was akin to disrespecting a woman. It is then that things escalated with the men getting into a heated debate with her. One is heard saying that "whistling has been here since the beginning of the Earth and you cannot stop it."


The incident and the video seem to have sparked some interesting conversations.

In certain parts of the world, whistling, rubbing against and even blaring one's horn at female pedestrians from one's car is illegal.

Australia is one such country where this behaviour has been banned, but what about Seychelles?
There are no such laws which refer to catcalls or whistling in such a manner in the laws of Seychelles. This, according to lawyer Alexia Amesbury, could be due to such acts being perceived as cultural rather than offensive.

"Maybe women have had a role to play in this," said Mrs. Amesbury. "For the longest time, sex has been a currency for trade. Women have used sexual favours to get advancement in acquiring property, or getting a job or getting a promotion. Where it has gone wrong is that not every woman finds this acceptable and the men should know that unless a woman has indicated by words, or conduct or some action, that she is interested in this kind of sexual harassment, then the man should back off and respect her wishes. Not every woman is up for grabs," continued Mrs. Amesbury.

Mrs. Amesbury added that "unless we as women stand together and say 'this is not acceptable', it will continue and we've got to get together to say that we need a law to protect our sexual integrity, because there is a lot of this sexual harassment happening - and in Seychelles it is never just a 'comment'."


One male commentator believes that such treatment of women is acceptable. "It is acceptable in our culture. As men, we do not see it as a way of denigrating the woman. Traditionally, this has been the method that we have used to approach women," he said, before saying that he would have no problem with a man doing this to his daughter or wife. However, there are two kinds of whistling: "there are those who whistle in an attempt to impress their friends, but there are also those who do it when they are by themselves to approach a woman." The man contends that it is then up to the woman to give the signal whether the man's behaviour is acceptable to her or not and he then decides whether he can approach or leave it be. However, this did not happen with MNA Larue over the weekend, who instead got lambasted for telling the men that she was not happy with their behaviour.

The commentator does not believe that we will be able to remove this behaviour in our people. At least, "not immediately," otherwise "if a law is passed right now, you'd probably see the majority of men seated at the courthouse tomorrow," he ended.

However, for some women, the issue of sexual harassment is pervasive and there is this mentality of a boy's club, where the men who act out in such ways are protected and the women have to suffer the consequences if they speak out about it. One sportswoman who was willing to speak about the issue to TODAY spoke of various instances where she and her female counterparts have been exposed to sexual harassment. It is either brushed under the rug or, as in one instance, you get insulted and sworn at.
"There is a lot of sexual harassment happening in sports in Seychelles and I am one of the victims," starts the sportswoman, before detailing how at a training camp abroad, her assistant coach entered her room that she shared with some other girls and "climbed on top" of her, and he would only get off when she started pushing him and shouting to alert the other girls. She was advised by one of her female counterparts to inform the head coach. According to her, "the head coach started shouting at me and swearing at me and telling me that I shouldn't have approached him to tell him these things. I took him as my father. Who else was I supposed to tell?" she asks.

She also speaks of cases where coaches have had sexual relations with their trainees, some under aged, which she says resulted in the coach then paying off the family "to take the case out of court!" exclaims the sportswoman, who describes herself as being disgusted with the pervasive mentality in Seychelles.

"A lot of sportswomen have stopped training because of sexual harassment," she says. "A lot of us women, we treat these men, our coaches as our fathers and uncles and so when they touch you, you don't think much of it, but it is when you are exposed to the outside world and you observe the relationship between coaches and their athletes and then you hear of coaches being taken to court for touching their female athletes that you start thinking that there is something wrong," she ends.

Source: Today in Seychelles

Monday, May 22, 2017

PARTI LEPEP MILKING IT ON PRASLIN


How much rental income is Parti Lepep earning from one of their 2646 square meter plots on Praslin? Sacos, Nouvobanq, Agency for Social Protection, Seychelles Postal service are some of the tenants occupying the building on Parti Lepep plot PR2392. PR2392 is part of the ali baba 40.



Where does the money go? Has the money been used in the past to illegally buy votes? Parti lepep is like a dangerous virus to this nation and like all viruses, they must be eradicated



Saturday, April 1, 2017

VICTORY AGAINST LAND GRAB

By R.Meetarbhan

The joint battle against corruption fought by Flory Larue and Alexander Pierre has made it possible to unravel one of the murkiest stories of land speculation and cronyism in Seychelles.

Just before midnight, on Thursday, State House released a press statement to announce that ten plots of land have been transferred back to the Republic of Seychelles. This follows a relentless combat fought by Flory Larue and Alexander Pierre against shadowy deals conducted in the past, in particular with regard to land speculation.

10 Plots at Beau Vallon

On Tuesday 21 March, MNA Larue asked Minister Charles Bastienne a question about the sale of several plots of land in Beau Vallon. They were purchased from government by one company, Sarah Ltd.

Two days later, Flory Larue handed the land transaction documents to President Faure. He moved quickly and decisively: "The proprietor of the company Sarah Ltd was met and a mutual agreement was reached. All ten plots of land were transferred back to the Republic of Seychelles yesterday, the 29th of March.," reveals the official statement from State House.

Who`s accountable?
It turns out that there were not ten plots of land, but eleven. The first ten are located in Beau Vallon bordering on Glacis. The eleventh one is a flat beachfront land close to Berjaya Beau Vallon. This plot measuring 7631 square meters was bought for SCR 2,300,000. This is prime property near the beachfront of Beau Vallon. All eleven plots were sold by government to one single company. The deal was arranged in record time.

Who is behind Sarah Ltd? The proprietor of the company is the Saudi businessman Suliman Aldakhail who is connected to the Kempinski hotel. He was known to be very close to the most influential people in the island until recently.

Suliman Aldakhail

All procedures for the sale were completed within one month in December 2008. The sale was registered within two weeks, whilst the registrar takes on average three months to process documents.
 
The 11th Plot
In a communiqué issued yesterday, LDS commented on that case: "the sale of several plots of state-
owned land to one individual is a case for an investigation of corruption, since it cannot be justified as an acceptable practice in the interest of Seychellois citizens. The plots, located in Glacis had been earmarked for the land bank scheme."

Though the return of the ten plots can be considered to be a significant event in the fight against malpractices, activist Flory Larue is not fully satisfied. Speaking to TODAY, she explained that "the act of returning the plots is fine but people who acted in violation of laws or government policies are still working as public servants. Individuals who cannot abide by official policies should resign from public service."

The untendered 11th  plot in a prime area; given away at bargain prices
Government has adopted a one plot-one person policy for a long time now and yet "one man, Suliman, got eleven plots in one day"   says Flory Larue. After eight to nine years, there is no development on these plots. Meanwhile, the land has acquired tremendous value. This is pure land speculation. It is unacceptable in a country where almost 10,000 people are waiting in the queue for a plot of land." she observed.

 While recognising that the return of the ten plots is a "commendable gesture" on the part of both the President and the proprietor of Sarah ltd., she regrets that the statement from the State House does not mention the next step in this affair. "Will the PS who signed the documents resign?" she asks

Flory Larue and Alexander Pierre feel they may have won a battle but as long as the war is not won, they will maintain their efforts. "Of the many files we have been working on, we have exposed only one. There is still a long way to go. And then, there is an eleventh plot at Beau Vallon which has not yet been returned".

Today in Seychelles

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

SAY NO TO GRAND POLICE HOTEL AND MARINA

The marina and hotel development project at Grand Police has really angered the people of Seychelles and has awakened many from their long slumbers. The Grand Police project is nothing else but a pack of discordant lies and deception by the previous government of James Michel.


The land on which the hotel and marina is to be built belonged to a Seychellois, specifically the Deltel family. It was acquired by this same government during the one party state in the national interest. After the army moved out,  it seems Arabs turned out to be the owners of the land and government made available a group of SPDF personnel to secure the land so that no Seychellois could have access to it. Our own people, own government had been denying us the right to what is ours by birth; unimpeded access to the beach.


The government announced in 2007 that it had sold the land, which is just under a million square metres, to Loomington Investments for a hotel development project. This is about a quarter of La Digue. Nobody really knows exactly who Loomington are, as the company’s real owners are hidden behind an offshore company in British Virgin Islands.  Ever since, there have been a lot of speculations about what was really happening. The concerned citizens, wanting to preserve the area, searched for information as best they could. Government found it appropriate to play the game of cat and mouse.


T575 covers the area at the southernmost tip of Mahe where two of the most beautiful beaches in Seychelles are situated; Petite Police and Grand Police. It also has landmarks of extreme historical importance; the lighthouse, the plantation house and associated edifices. With possibly the largest wetland on the island with an immaculate ecosystem, the area is also a sanctuary for sea turtle nesting.  Say no to grand police hotel!


AP

Thursday, March 2, 2017

SESELWA EN SEL DESTIN; Amesbury replies to Judiciary.

THE JUDICIARY IS ONE OF THE ARMS OF THE STATE/ GOVERNMENT. THE CABINET HAS 12 MINISTERS. THE LEGISLATURE HAS 33 MEMBERS AND THE JUDICIARY HAS 22 JUDICIAL OFFICERS, WHICH INCLUDES 6 MAGISTRATES 2 OF WHOM ARE FOREIGNERS. 10 JUDGES 3 OF WHOM ARE FOREIGNERS AND 2 NATURALISED SEYCHELLOIS. 1 MASTER, 1 REGISTRAR, 4 JUSTICES OF APPEAL 2 ARE FOREIGNERS AND 1 A NATURALISED SEYCHELLOIS AND 1 A SEYCHELLOIS.

 7 OUT OF 22 JUDICIAL OFFICERS ARE FOREIGNERS MAKING 32%. AND IF ONE INCLUDES THE NUMBER OF NATURALISED SEYCHELOIS JUDGES, THEN THAT FIGURE RISES TO 10 OUT OF 22 OR 45 %. THESE ARE FACTS NOT ATTACKS ON THE JUDICIARY.

THE ADMINISTRATIVE STAFF WORKING WITH GOVERNMENT DO NOT BECOME PART OF THE CABINET, NEITHER DOES THE ADMINISTRATIVE STAFF OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY BECOME THE LEGISLATURE, THEREFORE ADMINISTRATIVE STAFF WORKING WITH THE JUDICIARY DOES NOT FORM PART OF THE JUDICIARY, ONE OF THE ARM OF STATE/GOVERNMENT.

I ASK IS IT ACCEPTABLE THAT 32% OR 45% (DEPENDING ON HOW YOU LOOK AT IT) OF THE JUDICIARY IS MADE UP OF FOREIGNERS?

JEAN FRANCOIS FERRARI HON MEMBER FOR MT FLEURI HAS GIVEN US A FEW RECORDS THAT SEYCHELLES HOLDS. I WILL GIVE YOU ONE MORE. SEYCHELLES IS THE ONLY COUNTRY IN THE WORLD WITH THE HIGHEST NUMBER OF FOREIGNERS IN ITS JUDICIARY.

42% OF THE MNAS IN THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY IS FROM PL. WOULD IT BE ACCEPTABLE IF EVERYONE OF THOSE SITTING ACROSS THE FLOOR FROM LDS WOULD BE A FOREIGNER? IF IT WOULD NOT BE ACCEPTABLE IN THE LEGISLATURE WHY DO WE ACCEPT IT, IN THE JUDICIARY? OR EVEN IF 45%  of THE CABINET OF MINISTERS WOULD BE FOREIGNERS WOULD WE ACCEPT IT? SO WHY DO WE ACCEPT IT, IN THE JUDICIARY?

THIS IS ONE OF JAMES MICHEL’S LEGACIES. HE CHOSE TO GRANT SEYCHELLOIS NATIONALITY TO FOREIGNERS AND MAKE THEM JUDGES RATHER THAN APPOINT SEYCHELLOIS AS JUDGES, NOT THAT THERE WERE NO APPLICANTS FOR THE POSTS.

AT THE SAME TIME THAT JAMES MICHEL WAS GRANTING SEYCHELLOIS NATIONALITY TO A FOREIGNER SO HE COULD BECOME A SEYCHELLOIS JUDGE, ANOTHER QUALIFIED SEYCHELLOIS HAD AN APPLICATION PENDING BEFORE THE CAA, AS DID NICOLE TIRANT, AND AS DID SEVERAL OTHERS WHOSE NAMES I WILL NOT MENTION.

I AM TOLD THAT THE FOREIGNERS WHO ARE NATURALISED SEYCHELLOIS ARE CITIZENS ALL THE SAME, AND THEY SHOULD NOT BE DISCRIMINATED AGAINST. MY ANSWER IS SIMPLE, IF A COW IS BORN IN A PIG STY DOES IT BECOME A PIG? THAT SAID, I TOTALLY AGREE THAT ONE SHOULD NOT DISCRIMINATE AGAINST A FELLOW “CITIZEN.”BUT IS IT OK THEN, TO DISCRIMINATE AGAINST SEYCHELLOIS ATTORNEYS WHO QUALIFY TO BE APPOINTED JUDGES IN FAVOUR OF SOMETIMES LESS QUALIFIED FOREIGN ONES?

THE BODY MANDATED TO PROPOSE APPLICANTS FOR JUDICIAL APPOINTMENTS IS THE CONSTITUTIONAL APPOINTMENTS AUTHORITY, CAA, AND I ASK YOU, HAS THAT INSTITUTION LET THE PEOPLE OF SEYCHELLES DOWN? WHO IS TO BLAME IF TODAY 45% OF ONE OF THE ARM OF STATE ARE FOREIGNERS?

A FEW YEARS AGO NICOLE TIRANT BROUGHT A CASE AGAINST THE CAA AND THE PRESIDENT, AT THE TIME MR. RENE CHALLENGING THE RE-APPOINTMENT OF SEVERAL MAURITIAN JUDGES. IT WAS ONLY AFTER THAT CHALLENGE THAT SEYCHELLES GOT ITS FIRST POST MULTI-PARTY SEYCHELLOIS JUDGE AND NICOLE TIRANT HAS CONTINUED TO APPLY FOR JUDICIAL POSITIONS EACH TIME A VACANCY HAS ARISEN AND IT WOULD APPEAR THAT THE CAA AND THE PRESIDENT CONTINUE TO DISREGARD HER APPLICATIONS. AND AS RECENTLY AS 2013/14 MR. JAMES MICHEL CHOSE INSTEAD TO GRANT SEYCHELLOIS CITIZENSHIP TO A FOREIGNER SO HE COULD REMAIN AS A JUDGE OF THE SUPREME COURT BECAUSE HIS CONTRACT AS A FOREIGN JUDGE HAD EXPIRED. SO WHAT HAPPENED TO THE 4 OR 5 APPLICATIONS MADE BY NICOLE TIRANT AND OTHERS, THAT WERE  PENDING BEFORE THE CAA?

THE QUESTION IS, IF NICOLE CANNOT BE A JUDGE IN HER COUNTRY WHERE WILL SHE GO TO BE WHAT SHE WANTS TO BE? SRI LANKA, TANZANIA, MAURITIUS OR UGANDA? EVEN MORE RECENTLY THERE WAS ANOTHER FOREIGNER APPOINTED AS JUDGE, WAS HE MORE QUALIFIED TO FILL THAT POST THAN NICOLE TIRANT OR FOR THAT MATTER PHILLIPPE BOULLE WHO WAS THE SOLE CANDIDATE PROPOSED TO  JAMES MICHEL WHEN HE WAS PRESIDENT BY MR. BONNELAME WHEN HE WAS CHAIRMAN OF THE CAA?

WOULD IT BE ACCEPTABLE IF THE EXECUTIVE OR THE LEGISLATURE WAS MADE UP OF 45% OR EVEN 1% OF FOREIGNERS? AND FOR HOW LONG WILL THIS STATE OF AFFAIRS CONTINUE?

IF THE CAA AND THE PRESIDENT CANNOT FIND LOCALLY QUALIFIED ATTORNEYS TO BE APPOINTED JUDGES HOW DID THEY FIND MAURITIANS, SRI LANKANS. UGANDANS AND TANZANIANS? THEY MUST BE LOOKING IN THE WRONG PLACES OR THEY ARE LOOKING FOR THE WRONG QUALIFICATIONS, OR  ARE THEY LOOKING FOR LOCAL ATTORNEYS WHO QUALIFY FOR SOME REASONS, OTHER THAN THOSE STATED IN THE CONSTITUTION?

THERE ARE SOON TO BE AT LEAST 2/3 VACANCIES IN THE MAGISTRATE COURT, 2 VACANCIES IN THE SUPREME COURT AND ANOTHER 2 IN THE COURT OF APPEAL. IF PRESIDENT FAURE’S MIND SET IS WHAT WE SAW WHEN HE PUT 3 QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED SEYCHELLOIS AS THE MANAGEMENT TEAM OF THE NDEA AND HAD THE COURAGE TO MAKE A SEYCHELLOIS CHIEF OFFICER OF THAT ORGANISATION THEN THERE IS HOPE THAT SOON THE JUDICIARY WILL HAVE 6/7 NEW SEYCHELLOIS MEMBERS.

RECENTLY BERNARD GEORGES WAS APPOINTED AS A JUDGE OF THE COMESA COURT IN SUDAN AND HIS CLERK IS NONE OTHER THAN JUDHOO THE MAURITIAN WHO SERVED AS A JUDGE OF OUR SUPREME COURT FOR A NUMBER OF YEARS. OUR SEYCHELLEOIS QUALIFY TO BE APPOINTED JUDGES ELSEWHERE AND ONE OF THE FOREIGNERS THAT THE CAA AND OUR PRESIDENTS HAVE APPOINTED IN THE PAST QUALIFY TO BE HIS CLERK. HOW DOES THIS HAPPEN?

THE CHALLENGE FOR CAA AND PRESIDENT FAURE IS TO FILL UP THE 6/7 JUDICIAL VACANCIES WITH SEYCHELLOIS, BEARING IN MIND THAT IF THE CAA DOES NOT PROPOSE THEN THE PRESIDENT CANNOT APPOINT. AND I SAY IF, THE CAA CANNOT FIND SIX OR SEVEN QUALIFIED SEYCHELLOIS TO PLACE BEFORE THE PRESIDENT, THEN WE REPLACE THE PRESENT CAA WITH PERSONS WHO ARE NOT BLIND. WHY DOES THE CAA SEE FOREIGNERS WHO QUALIFY TO BE APPOINTED JUDGES BUT IT FINDS NO SEYCHELLOIS?

THE NATIONAL THEME FOR THIS YEAR IS: “SESELWA EN SEL DESTIN”. HOW CAN SESELWA HAVE A SEL DESTIN WHEN 45% OF ONE OF THE ARM OF STATE COMPRISES OF FOREIGNERS? MY DESTINY AS A SEYCHELLOISE SHOULD BE IN THE HANDS OF A GOVERNMENT THAT IS 100% SEYCHELLOIS. PRESIDENT FAURE TRAVAY I LA.

I AM THE FIRST TO ADMIT THAT SEYCHELLES HAS BENEFITED ENORMOUSLY IN TERMS OF ITS JURISPRUDENCE FROM SEVERAL FOREIGN JUDGES AND THEIR HARD WORK. I THINK HERE NOT ONLY OF THE COMMONWEALTH JUDGES WHO HAVE DONE AN EXCELLENT JOB IN HELPING TO REDUCE THE BACK LOG OF CASES THAT EXISTED NOT TOO LONG AGO.  MY PROBLEM IS WITH A CAA AND A PRESIDENT WHO REFUSES TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE QUALIFICATIONS AND THE HARD WORK OF LOCAL ATTORNEYS WHO ASPIRE TO BE JUDGES IN THEIR OWN COUNTRY.

THE CONTENT OF THIS DOCUMENT IS MORE OR LESS WHAT I SAID DURING THE RALLY AT ROCHE CAIMAN. MOST OF IT IS FACTUAL AND THE REST MY PERSONAL OPINION. AS A CITIZEN OF SEYCHELLES MY DUTY FIRST AND FOREMOST IS TO MY COUNTRY. WHERE I SEE THAT THINGS ARE WRONG I HAVE A DUTY TO MY COUNTRY TO SAY IT, SO THAT CORRECTIONS CAN BE MADE.

I am putting the above on Seychelles Daily so that the readers can judge for themselves whether what I said in my speech was cause for the Judiciary to make the press statement it made.

Alexia G. Amesbury







PRESS STATEMENT
From: The Judiciary
To: All media

 On behalf of all judges and magistrates, the Judiciary wishes to respond to the public, verbal attacks on the Judiciary as an institution and on its non-Seychellois judicial officers specifically. These attacks include statements made at recent public political rallies and circulated on social media. The statement that the Judiciary is “in the hands of foreigners”, which has xenophobic undertones, is untrue. Less than 10% of the total judicial officers in Seychelles are non-Seychellois. The comments made in this regard constitute an attack on the few individuals who suspend their lives in other countries to assist the Seychelles Judiciary when we are unable to fill judicial positions based on applications received. Judicial officers cannot respond individually to attacks of this kind and nor should they have to. The Judiciary as a whole supports them in the important work they do for this country.

We wish to remind lawyer-politicians of their legal responsibilities under the Legal Practitioners’ Act, specifically of their overriding duty as ‘Officers of the Court’ under the Legal Practitioners (Professional Conduct) Rules, 2013 and their commitment to maintaining public confidence in the administration of justice. Breach of these rules is a failure of professional ethics.

The Judiciary is committed to transparency as an institution and welcomes the media to engage with it on the truth underlying any allegations that are made regarding specific cases.

We also stand by our commitment to fulfilling our mandate under the Constitution and are confident in the skills and independence of our judicial officers. We request that public officials and officers of the Court refrain from attempts to intimidate the Judiciary. We have a job to do and must continue to perform our functions independently and without fear of recrimination.