Thursday, October 30, 2014


Many Sri Lankans have reportedly been swindled in the Seychelles by two persons namely Robert Piksa and Marco L Francis of Seychelles.

They have allegedly cheated many Sri Lankan businessmen promising deals in the Seychelles and obtaining funds, starting from exporting fish to Sri Lanka, opening up offshore companies and bank accounts for money laundering were some of the rackets the duo were allegedly involved in.

Robert Piksa a Czech Republic citizen has reportedly cheated many people around the globe starting from Europe, Thailand, Russia and now Sri Lanka and is on the verge of getting de ported from the Seychelles.

It is learnt that he pretends to be the consultant of the Czech prime minister and has cheated Sri Lankan businessmen in various deals mainly in exporting fish.

A senior official at the Bank of Ceylon Seychelles branch has reportedly fallen prey to Robert Piksa’s wheeler dealings.

The official from the Bank of Ceylon Seychelles branch had reportedly started business with Piksa in exporting fish to Sri Lanka as well as working on money laundering businesses with Robert and his partner Marco L Francis.

According to reports, Marco L Francis a prominent figure in the Seychelles and the president of the Seychelles chamber of commerce is one of the main culprits in forming offshore companies and bank accounts for money laundering and providing illegal dealing for rouge companies around the world and Sri Lankan politicos.

With Marco L Francis position in the Seychelles chamber it has been easy for the duo to promote themselves in attracting foreigners (Local Sri Lankans) to send them money with no agreement but only on trust to start off businesses.

Rober Piksa had always been the front end and Marco playing a silent role from the back to make sure the investors money dossiers.

It’s also understood that Peter Sinon the Minister of Natural resources and Fisheries of Seychelles a very close friend of Robert Piksa has ‎promoted Piska by attending business meetings with the businessmen from Sri Lanka and other countries to give more confidence in trusting the duo and going in to partnerships.

We will continue to update on any new developments in this regard.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


The mystery behind BMI’s unexpected closure does not dissipate. A press communiqué yesterday from the Central Bank of Seychelles (CBS) confirming that the BMI Offshore bank in Victoria was currently under “examination” due to an “operational issue”. Yet the CBS seems unable to expound what exactly is the problem.

 The BMI Offshore bank unexpectedly closed down on Thursday following an “examination” by the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) of its data. While the BMI’s staff has vanished and documents have been seized by the authorities, the FIU maintains that an “examination” is not an “investigation”.

Yet the Central Bank of Seychelles (CBS) confirmed yesterday via a press communiqué that it was, together with the FIU, conducting an “examination on BMI’s transactions and records due to an ‘operational issue’”. According to the CBS, BMI’s correspondent banking relationship has been discontinued since last week which perhaps was the reason why the CBS and FIU decided to carry out an “examination”.

The communiqué also makes the following point - that the offshore bank was financially sound and that the depositor’s interests were safeguarded even though they will not be able to access their deposits until the problem is solved.

Naddy Marie was contacted, economist and communications coordinator at CBS, for further clarifications - what was the “operational issue”?, When will the depositors have access to their funds?, What happened to BMI’s employees? But Mr Marie said he was not in a position to enlighten us further.

 Rumours of a possible interdiction of BMI’s managing director Frank Hoareau could also not be confirmed.

 It is to be noted that the FIU’s Declan Barber stated that the FIU never instructed BMI to close or interrupt their daily activities. The CBS is mute on this matter as well.


Friday, October 24, 2014


A case was mentioned in the Constitutional Court on Tuesday. The petitioner, Mr Ian Delorie, prays that the court passes judgment declaring that the National Assembly Members Emoluments (Amendments) Acts 2008 and 2013 are violations of Article 105 (1) of the constitution and must be declared null and void.

The massive life pensions voted into law by the MNAs in 2008 and 2013 have angered the population and as a responsible citizen, Mr Delorie has decided to make it his duty to ensure that Seychelles is governed in accordance to the rule of law and that the consolidated fund from which the pensions are paid is managed in strict compliance with the Constitution.

The Constitution adopted in 1993 makes provision for payment of salary, allowances and gratuity for MNAs but not pension. Since the coming into force of the present constitution, the National Assembly Emoluments Act has been amended four times to give a pay hike to members of the National Assembly. However, in 2007, the National Assembly passed the National Assembly Members Emoluments (Amendment) Act 2008 in which provision was made for MNAs to benefit from a pension; that was and remains unconstitutional. From then on, each serving MNA is entitled to a pension. It was initially restricted to MNAs under the present constitution but lately the parliamentarians who served under the Second Republic were also added to the list.

Interestingly, the Constitution permits MNAs to decide on laws that will determine their own salaries but not pension. In many countries this right has been abused and Seychelles does not seem to be an exception. Incidentally, the public had been kept in the dark for years regarding the perks being enjoyed by retiring MNAs. Focus was kept mainly on the executive. When the real facts came to light and the figures revealed, the population was shocked. MNAs retired more than a decade ago are pocketing more than SR 15 000 a month in pension; simply outrageous.

The sum paid monthly from the Consolidated Fund for payment of pension is phenomenal; the country may not be able to sustain it for long. When the current National Assembly is dissolved next year, most of the MNAs, some still tender in age, will enjoy pensions till death while the hardworking citizens strive to earn a daily living. The pension of the MNAs exceeds the salary of university graduates. The pension of the Former Leader of the Opposition, the Leader of Government Business  and the Speaker is much more than the highest paid civil servant; is this what politicians have always wanted?

In the event that the Constitutional Court rule in favour of the petitioner, the National Assembly still retains the power to amend the constitution and insert the word pension where appropriate. Will the people of Seychelles allow them to do so?

Thursday, October 23, 2014


Dear Editor,

In response to your article a few weeks ago regarding the National Forum and the request for your readers to write in with their list of “taboo” subjects, please find my contribution.

National Forum - Speak up now or forever hold your peace


At day break on the 5th of June 1977, I woke up to a radio announcement that a “coup d’état” had taken place and a group of people who called themselves “liberators” had deposed the democratically elected government of James Mancham. At the time coups d’état were commonplace and fashionable on mainland Africa.

What we had been liberated from is to this day still not clear because a little less than a year before, we had obtained independence from the United Kingdom and had become a free sovereign State.

Members of this group went on to form an illegal government and to this day, the same people are still in control. Prior to independence, times were not exactly that quiet in paradise. We had sampled what this group of people and their sympathisers were capable of. They had subjected us to violent strikes, countless demonstrations, bombings and fires.

These and this act of treason provided the best indicators of the kind of future the people of Seychelles faced. And looking back this view is firmly proven.

Now in their twilight years, some members of this group are showing signs of remorsefulness and want to be forgiven for what happened. Others, it is reported, would prefer to take what they know to their graves.

The call for the truth has always been there but has always fallen on deaf ears. It seems times are changing and the braver ones are asking for “taboo subjects” to be discussed openly. Therefore for this reason alone, I respect President Michel for having the courage to table the subject openly.

A National Forum

One of the reasons cited by President Michel for establishing the National Forum is the need to remove the elements that have divided our nation for so long, so that we can make progress on most fronts on a bipartisan basis. He has invited us to speak up in an unreserved manner.

Below is the list that I have compiled to help the chosen members of the forum do their work as I believe this is an important opportunity for them to make history and bring about meaningful changes to our country.

The Original Sin: The source of the division and Taboo Subject Number 1

Unquestionably, the source of division and polarisation of our country as we know it today, are the tragic events which happened on the 5th of June 1977, and prior to this, the mysterious disappearances of a few Seychellois which up to this day remains unexplained. More than half of the population viewed the 5th of June event as an act of treason while others considered it a “liberation”.

Deprivation of Human Rights – Taboo Subject 2

The treatment of other people who were in politics when this sad event occurred and subsequently, remain sore wounds for those affected, to this day. Imprisonments, seizure of assets and killings were the order of the day and we were told these were all done in the name of improving the lot of the Seychellois people. How could depriving people of civil liberties and human rights improve the lot of others? Is killing one’s own countrymen justified?

Victimisation – Taboo Subject 3

Under the one party State, government ruled with an iron fist subjecting individuals and businesses to all sorts of scare mongering tactics to the extent that there was an exodus of people fleeing Seychelles and businesses going bankrupt, simply because their owners would not tow the same political line. People were scared to talk openly about politics in case they were victimised. Even to this day, you can lose your civil service job if you criticise the government and the reason for dismissal would be that you are a security risk.

Mismanagement and Corruption – Taboo Subject 4

The mismanagement of funds and the corruption on the large scale that has happened has been entirely under the watch of the only government this nation has known since the 5th June 1977. The Mancham government had not been in power for one year. The government must stop blaming the opposition for any misdoings because the opposition has never been in power. It must recognise that it has been solely responsible for the economic mess which led to the IMF bail-out and only it can get us out of it. Furthermore, allegations of corruption must be investigated and those responsible be brought to justice. Lip service to this is no longer acceptable. It is time to randomly audit the assets of government officers past and present and the envelopes which they declared their assets be opened for verification.

 Leave the Judiciary Alone – Taboo Subject 5

The government has always exercised undue influence on the judiciary and has interfered with its independence through various tactics including appointment of foreigners who have sucked up to the system so that they could be conferred the Seychellois nationality. The government must stop this practice and must allow the judiciary to do its job unhindered. It is only through an independent judiciary that we can achieve meaningful outcomes and justice will triumph in all instances.

In a Democracy the Opposition Deserves Respect – Taboo Subject 6

The government must recognise that people have different views and will always differ on policy matters. The opposition is there as a check on misaligned policies and has an important role to play in pointing deficiencies in policies. For this reason, its members should not be victimised whether for: 1. belonging to the opposition, and 2. speaking out against bad policies. If the government was in the opposition, it would claim exactly the same respect.

What Happened to “Sesel Pou Seselwa”? – Taboo Subject 7

The people who coined this phrase at the time of the movement for independence have totally forgotten about it. When the Opposition and the public speak out about the protection of State assets, especially land allocation to foreigners, they are speaking on behalf of the entire nation regardless of party affiliation.

Government has a duty on behalf of the entire nation to put in place legislation on how assets of the state are disposed of in a transparent manner. No asset can ever be offered to anyone privately, especially to foreigners. When assets are identified for disposal, a public tender must be published and only Seychellois persons can be allowed to participate in the tender. The recent Bel Ombre hotel proposal is a case in hand, where the government has sprung a surprise on its people. This practice is wrong and must be stopped. If the government is calling on its people to unite for nation building, the same people must be given priority to participate in this process and preferences not be given to foreigners.

Public Scrutiny is Normal – Taboo Subject 8

Ministers of the government, political appointees and civil servants who accept almost quasi political roles, must understand that in accepting these posts they are subject to public scrutiny and must accept criticisms from all angles except in cases of defamation. Frivolous court cases entered by these people who know that they can exert influence on the judiciary to get unjustified outcomes in their favour must stop.

Tell Us What You Are Doing With Our Money – Taboo Subject 9

Whenever money is collected from the public for special reasons, these should be subject to the same control as funds/taxes collected under the appropriation act. We need to have full audits of the use of the Corporate Social Responsibility funds as well as the Children’s Fund. In the case of the latter, the responsibility for allocation of funds collected under its name should be enfranchised to a body made up of responsible members of our society and not by a government officer or agency, let alone the President’s Office or his appointees.

Enact Balanced Laws – Taboo Subject 10

The electoral laws and public order act must be revised and the views of the entire nation reflected in them.

 Our Environment – Taboo Subject 11

The government of President Albert Rene was very conscious of the fragile environment of Seychelles and did its best to protect the environment while creating reclaimed land for development. Today, we see just the opposite happening under President Michel’s government, with foreign companies being given permission to build whatever they want, wherever they want, with total disregard and respect for our environment. A few cases of note is Sheikh Khalifa’s palace at the top of La Misere mountain which is considered not only an eyesore, but a scar on our landscape, the proposed hotel development at Bel Ombre which has just been announced out of the blue and linked again to Abu Dhabi, the proposed hotel at the only remaining wetlands at Grand Police, and of course the Emirates Airlines proposed project at Cap Ternay, an area of unrivalled beauty and a haven for the marine environment. These are crimes against humanity Mr. President, let alone against your own people! Beau Vallon Beach is now so overcrowded that it has become nothing more than a cheap commercial tourist spot. Port Launay is now the home of the huge Ephelia Resort Hotel and the Seychellois people are now pushed into a small section of the beach and no longer welcomed. A lot of beaches around Mahé and Praslin are now out of bounds to locals; the people have simply had enough of large hotels on the islands. To top it off, our outer islands are now being sold off to rich foreigners rather than kept as national treasures for our future generations.

 Our Citizenship – Taboo Subject 12

 Government has sold and given away our passports to foreigners from all over the world, from criminals who have paid for favours, to judges who are in favour and to “friends of Seychelles” who have greased the palms of many politicians. It is time to take this power away from the President and State House, and the recent change of laws has done nothing to stop the abuse of power.

 Hear the Entire Nation Out – Taboo Subject 13

 And how can the views of the entire nation be heard, if the main avenue for its people to air concerns is controlled by government? For too long now, the SBC Radio and TV have been used as tools by government to indoctrinate and broadcast the government’s position only, while the Nation newspaper has been used as a tool for State House to spread its own propaganda, philosophy and lies. Recently, a new Seychelles News Agency which clearly is another arm of the State House media machinery has emerged and is housed in the new Jj Spirit Espace building. Worse, it is being funded by taxpayers money. Aren’t NISA (Nation) and SBC enough?

 It is the same SBC which has been used all along to lead the nation to believe that the all the taboo subjects were the creation of the opposition. Now the new SNA regurgitates everything that State House spouts.

 Half of the population views these subjects as very real and sensitive ones. It would appear that for the other half, they were “taboo” subjects which should never be discussed at all costs and which SBC should suppress discussions on. It is time government and State House to get out of the media business once and for all. Only an independent media without ties to the government can bring freedom of press and expression to the fore. As long as State House controls the media in the country à la “En Moman Avek Prezidan”, the country will never move forward.

 Where Do We Start?

 But now that we have been told we can discuss these “taboo” issues, we need to make a concerted effort to table them, or at least the chosen, “distinguished citizens” must ensure that the true voice of the nation are heard. If we are uncertain as to where to start the discussions to bring our nation together then we can start the dialogue with subject 1 above, the Original Sin. If we cannot agree on this, then it is back to the subject 1 again, because it will not go away. Will the perpetrators of this sin be brought to justice? We think not, at least not for a while. Possibly posthumously, some truth may come out about who did what. But in the end, we are a forgiving people due to our Christian upbringing, and most believe that forgiveness is better than retribution.

 For a lot of Seychellois the hurt can only start going away when the truth is exposed about a lot of sufferings which have taken place so that all those affected can start the healing process in a dignified manner.

 It is only after the skeletons have been removed from the closets that perhaps the pain will start to fade into history, and not the phony history as written by Shillington!


 Seychelles is at a fork in the road, or at least this government is. President Michel can either accept that he and his party are the true cause of the polarization and that only he and his party can rectify the situation by openly discussing the issues as listed above, or he might as well dissolve the National Forum now. He himself owes the Seychellois nation an apology, if not for taking part in the coup d’etat which he absurdly believes was needed to liberate the people, then at least for all the lives that were lost during and after the coup. Yes, a lot of people still alive today are guilty of various sins and they know that putting their hands up could end them in jail. But the families who lost their loved ones are ready for closure and are the only ones who can pardon the sinners. And moving “Zomn Lib” a few hundred metres down the road and replacing it with a new “national” monument concocted by the President himself is a slap in the face to all Seychellois with an iota of common sense.

 The question is that with elections around the corner, will the President fast track this process of truth? This is highly unlikely and therefore, this forum would well prove to be another waste of time of the ‘distinguished’ members of the National Forum, let alone another golden opportunity to move the country forward, lost amidst the haze of the original sinners’ narcissistic blurred visions of leadership.


 C. A.


Monday, October 20, 2014


 The Eastern Africa Journalists Association (EAJA) has reacted to the announcement this week that Ahmed Afif will no longer be allowed to participate in Revi Finansyel, a popular weekly phone-in show on Pure FM dedicated to demystifying some of the economic and financial issues affecting Seychelles. Its secretary general, Alexander Niyungeko, wrote in a statement that the move is “a drawback to press freedom and freedom of expression”, and called on government to promote an environment conducive to a free press.

In an interview earlier this week, Mr. Afif told our newspaper that he believed it to be “a political decision” and described the situation as “a big blow to democracy and press freedom”. Mr. Niyungeko said that the EAJA considers the discontinuation of Mr Afif’s participation as “an attempt to limit access to information” and condemns “any pressure that may have led to it”. Also on the website was a quote from the Association of Media Practitioners (AMPS) which expressed its disappointment over the dismissal of Mr Afif. AMPS remarked that the move “would intimidate local journalists and stifle the growth of a free and independent press in the country”.

The EAJA stressed that the establishment of private media houses in Seychelles in recent years has been a positive development. “However, this new development is viewed as a roll-back on the recent opening up of media freedom and liberalization of the local media” in Seychelles, it added. Social media was also abuzz with indignation and there is speculation that Facebook users and fans of the radio show intend to create a petition to signal their opposition to the decision.


Saturday, October 18, 2014


Many young people in Seychelles are unaware that in 1990 five musicians and two technicians from the British pop band UB40, who was on a tour in the Seychelles, were arrested on suspicion of possessing marijuana. This was announced by Mr. Raymond Louise, who was then Seychelles Deputy Police Commissioner (DSPC) at the time.

According to Mr. Louise, the police had enough evidence to charge the seven members of UB40, but the Seychellois authorities decided to deport them instead. Being disgraced after a failed tour, the group did not want the matter publicized, and again the police had to intervene when UB40 members scuffled with a British photographer trying to take their pictures as they boarded an Air France flight to Paris.

According to Seychelles Law, anybody who is deported cannot be accepted back into the country, unless the deportation order has been lifted. We have no information to say that this has been the case - since deportation has given them the status of undesired visitors. However, in the case of UB40 the rules are being relaxed, since the British pop band will be here in the Seychelles as guest artists during the official opening of the Eden Blue Hotel.

We hope that this time around they will behave themselves and show respect to their host at Eden Island. We wish them a successful tour in Seychelles. This time the NDEA with its Irish contingent will be there to deal with them. The band has English, Scottish and even an Irish as part of the group - it might make things interesting if they clash with Skully, Quinn and Burke. We are looking forward to this adventure.


Friday, October 17, 2014


Government is pursuing “all possible diplomatic and legal avenues” to spare the prisoners the death penalty.

Time appears have run out for the three Seychellois - Ronny Jean, Yvon Vinda and Dean Loze - imprisoned in the oasis town of Qena. Indeed, the highest appellate court in Egypt has upheld the death sentence handed down to them in April last year, despite efforts by government to have their sentences commuted to life imprisonment. In a statement issued yesterday, the ministry of Foreign affairs indicated that this decision “implies that execution orders will follow”. The rejection of their appeal means that, barring a last minute miracle, the execution of the prisoners seems all but inevitable.

Along with the skipper of their South Africa flagged boat - a 75 year-old Englishmen named Charles Ferndale -, Messrs Jean, Vinda and Loze were arrested on the Red Sea in April 2011 with three tonnes of cannabis.In an interview with The Telegraph in 2013, Mr Ferndale affirmed that he thought he was ferrying incense between Yemen and Jordan when he was caught, not cannabis. Earlier he had sailed from Seychelles to Oman and had recruited the Seychellois sailors after his original crew had abandoned ship “for fear of rampant piracy in the Gulf of Aden”. He claims to have been framed by an Egyptian named Gamal who had paid his fuel costs.

At the time of the interview Mr Ferndale and the three Seychellois seamen were being held in solitary confinement in Qena prison. The article also stated that “in nearly all cases, death penalties for drugs cases in Egypt are commuted to life imprisonment”. Tragically, this case appears to be the exception, despite government taking all “all measures practical and feasible to ensure that the Seychellois obtained the required legal and consular representation”.


Thursday, October 16, 2014


Ahmed Afif was informed by the management of Pure FM that he would no longer be allowed to participate in Revi Finansyel, the radio station’s popular Wednesday phone in show devoted to demystifying some the economic and financial issues affecting Seychelles. Mr Afif said he believed it to be “a political decision”. “It’s a big blow to democracy and press freedom. The show aimed to educate the public on economic and financial issues and I tried to be objective as possible. It’s very sad”, he stated

The abrupt end to Mr Afif ’s engagement with the radio station may be the start of further clampdowns; interactive legal debates may soon be axed. It is one more attempt by government to stifle freedom of expression.

We all know who owns the radio station and his affiliation with government. The radio station came into being at a time when the world was crying foul over press freedom in Seychelles; there was a need to have a ‘private’ station up and running. A savior came up; the SMC (Seychelles Media Commission) gave its blessings and our press freedom ranking improved; mission accomplished! Alas, small Seychelles had a ‘private’ radio station and government had reduced the licence fee as proof of its commitment towards freedom of expression; not everybody was fooled. Government had the right man in the right place to do the right bidding at the right time. Journalists and other media professionals migrated from the SBC to greener pastures; little did they realize that they were moving to an ad hoc government media house. They now find themselves in a perfectly imperfect situation; they had been serving the same boss all along.

The listeners are calling for a complete boycott of the radio station until Mr Afif is brought back on Pure Fm. According to insider Government sources this has nothing to do with the Seychelles Airlines drama!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


In March this year the President appointed the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) which until then was a one person commission. The NHRC is composed of Ms Dora Zatte as the chairperson and the Ombudsperson with Judge Ranjun Perera and Ms Farzana Jumaye as the members. The appointment of the chairperson and its members is in accordance with Section 3(9) of the Protection of Human Rights Act; all beautiful and eloquent words. The three musketeers were supposed to protect our rights; they have done absolutely nothing. The chairperson was seen on television telling the audience that the public does not bring forward human rights issues; it remains a lie.
Dora Zatte;NHRC Commisioner
Following the swearing in ceremony in March, Ms. Dora Zatte said, “For this forthcoming mandate, we expect to see a more dynamic National Human Rights Commission… We intend to primarily deal with the allegations of human rights violations.... we have also other roles to play in educating and promoting human rights issues but for the time being our resources do not allow us to give maximum emphasis to all of these sectors, so we have to prioritize our resources to where its most crucial and that is in investigation of allegations and breaches..”

The holy trinity of human rights in Seychelles has done nothing to investigate any allegation of violation. People keep going to their office at Aarti Building at Mont Fleuri and come out frustrated; they are all requested to forward a written complaint. When they do, it is all forgotten. No one even bothers to have a decent conversation with the complainant to determine whether it is a genuine case of human rights abuse or not. Seeing the Ombudsperson and Chairperson is impossibility. Any citizen can call at their office and witness it firsthand. The NHRC is a disgrace. The Chairperson is paid a double salary and yet does nothing.

After being detained illegally in September 2013, four complainants forwarded a written complaint to the commission on 7 October 2013. One week later, on 14th October they received an acknowledgement letter. One of the complainants has sought feedback from the commission but to no avail. He has kept calling and going to the commission and back but still nothing was done. For one whole year, he called and pestered the commission for feedback; the NHRC did not budge. It is despicably sad. The Ombudsperson and the NHRC is the protector of government; not of our rights.

The reasons given for not doing their jobs are petty and baseless; it is all about lack of resources. Resources are never enough anywhere on this planet; even the air we breathe comes in short supply at times. The three musketeers must be resourceful. They are in the wrong job; human rights organizations exist because there are people who can love others as much as they love themselves. The NHRC of Seychelles loves the perks more than they love their fellow citizens. Here we have three lawyers with the responsibility of bringing awareness of human rights issues to the population; they are used to writing through the night. They cannot even write simple articles and have them printed in the national papers even once a month to sensitize people on their roles and responsibilities as a commission or of issues pertaining to their rights. It will cost the commission not even a single cent; no paper, no ink just few minutes every month. This is a tragedy of the highest order.


Between the old plantation house and the boatyard at L’Union Estate on La Digue lies a plot of land in excess of nine thousand square meters; Parcel LD 1613. The high value beachfront property has been carved out of the massive portion of state land belonging to government but transferred onto L’Union Estate Company years ago. On it has been constructed five chalets. On further inquiry, it turned out the chalets are the property of La Digue Island Lodge; it is being advertised on its website. Reliable information indicates that the La Digue Island Lodge is up for sale; Parcel LD 1613 is part of the package.

Trying to ascertain who owns Parcel LD 1613 has been impossible. The registration office has no record of the parcel or who it belongs to. One of the officers explained that the ownership of the parcel is secret and cannot be revealed; we could not make out whether the officer was stupid or whether this directive really existed.

La Digue Island Lodge is owned by the once affluent and popular business magnat e , Mr Gregoire Payet; the right hand man of former president Rene. For many years he was the powerful CEO of L‘Union Estate Company Ltd which oversaw all government properties on La Digue. The friendship with former president soured and Mr Payet resigned as CEO of the parastatal company some years ago after massive financial irregularities were unveiled. The Minister for Finance announced an inquiry into the allegations of corruption but everything has gone quiet. To date, the accounts of L’Union Estate Company Ltd remain unsubmitted.

Monday, October 6, 2014


A painting by Seychellois artist, Micheal Bouchereau-Arnephie, which depicts a majestic sailfish cutting through crystal blue waters leaving trails of tiny bubbles in its wake, its long sharp bill pointing towards the school of mackerel it is chasing into the deep will feature in the December/January issue of Marlin Magazine.

Bouchereau-Arnephie is the proud winner of the "Reader's Choice" where readers and fans could vote for the favourite paintings by liking the entries on Marlin Magazine’s Facebook page. The voting ended on September 30 and final results were published Friday evening. The Seychellois artist emerged as the winner of the ‘Reader’s Choice’ ahead of 68 other talented artists who submitted their work for the Marlin Magazine’s 2015 Marlin Offshore Art Gallery competition.

The online voting attracted some prominent artists such as Carey Chan, Bodo Muche, Dennis Friel, Marty Wilson, David Webster, Peter Agardy amongst others.According to the Secretary of the Seychelles Sports Fishing Club (SSFC), Grant Heyer, Bouchereau-Arnephie’s painting got 2836 votes for which were 350 votes more than his closest rival.

It is to be noted that the ‘Sailfish Mackerel Hunt’ chosen by the judges at Marlin Magazine to enter into the reader’s choice award was one of three artworks he had submitted for consideration.
“I knew that I was ahead by around 350 votes but it had to be confirmed by Marlin Magazine themselves,” Bouchereau-Arnephie told SNA in an interview.

In a previous interview Bouchereau Arnephie, also a keen sports fisherman, had told SNA that he was encouraged by Heyer, the secretary of SSFC’s of which he is also an executive committee member to submit an artwork for the competition.

“Obviously I feel very honoured and proud not just for myself but for SSFC and Seychelles in general. Its good exposure globally for Seychelles,” said the artist now that he is the proud winner.
Sharing Bouchereau-Arnephie’s success Heyer told SNA that SSFC is very excited now that Seychelles is home to the 2014 Marlin Magazine Reader's Choice Award adding that the sports fishing organization supports all efforts to help promote Seychelles in a positive way and to help get worldwide exposure for the Indian Ocean archipelago.

"Our hope is that as a result of this, some of those who voted have researched Seychelles further and come and visit on their holiday" said Heyer.
"We do feel there will be benefits to Seychelles in other sectors of the economy as a result of this - mainly increased exposure for potential tourist arrivals."

Marlin Magazine has an estimated readership of more than 400,000 people and an online subscribers of over 280,000 people.

There is a keen interest in deep sea fishing in Seychelles and it is hoped that the painting of the Seychellois artist in its December/January issue will give further boost to this type of fishing.
Hailing from Anse Boileau, in the west coast of the Seychelles main island of Mahé Bouchereau-Arnephie worked for a while as a freelance fashion designer in Melbourne, Australia.

Returning to Seychelles in 2001 he started his own company named Hi-Tech Graphics, working on branding for several well-known local brands.

Having won Marlin Magazine’s Readers Choice Boucherau-Arnephie is anticipating a future participation in the online competition.

“This particular competition is a yearly event by next year I might have a better one and more to show. Because of the subject matter,  Marlin Magazine is the perfect publication to associate my kind of art,” he said.

Source: Seychelles News Agency

Friday, October 3, 2014


Today, 3rd of October, marks 8 years to the day since the normally peaceful capital of Seychelles, Victoria witnessed a rare eclipse of unrest over the rights to operate private radio.

A group of the opposition supporters had gathered at the National Cultural Centre, which then housed the National Assembly to sign a petition calling on President James Michel not to sign into law the Amendment of the Broadcasting and Telecommunication Bill 2006.

The amendments seek to prohibit all political parties; religious organisations or person(s) affiliated to a political group to own a license to operate a private radio station.

 The protesters accused the ruling party of robbing their constitutional right of freedom of expression.

The police responded by using brutal force against the Seychelles National Party (SNP) leaders, party members and members of the public who were engaged in a simple political activity such as gathering to sign a petition.

 A public inquiry into the incident which started in 2007 and headed the Irish retired Judge Michael Reilly found that the Special Support Unit (SSU) used excessive and unjustified use of force in dealing with the crowd.

 In November 2009 the Supreme Court awarded damages to victims of the 3rd October incident.

Thursday, October 2, 2014


Seychelles growth rate has slowed to 2.8 per cent this year, compared to 5.3 per cent in 2013. This is according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) who led a staff mission to the island for its first review under the IMF’s Extended Fund Facility (EFF) arrangement.

Seychelles’ tuna and tourism revenues remained weak after reporting exceptional results in 2013 while  domestic demand and imports has grown strongly following a 13 per cent boost in earnings an a 16 per cent growth in credit to the private sector.

“The combination of weak export earnings and rising imports has led to pressure on the balance of payments,” said Marshall Mills, mission chief at the IMF. “The authorities have the tools and determination to manage these short-term pressures. Monetary and fiscal policies are being tightened, with lower reserve money targets and higher primary surplus targets than envisaged in the program.”

Overall, the IMF is confident that the Seychellois government is on track to meet its key objective of reducing public debt below 50 per cent of GDP by 2018. Also, inflation is projected to be at 2.3 per cent for this year.

“The Seychellois authorities continue to strengthen the fundamentals of the economy, as well as the conditions for its sustained growth. The authorities successfully met all their quantitative program targets for end-June. The sizeable fiscal primary surplus and increase in international reserves this year bolster the resilience of the economy, in line with the objectives of the IMF-supported program,” added Mills.

For 2015, the IMF expects economic growth to increase slightly to three per cent due to policy adjustments and a gradual recovery in tourism and tuna exports.

“Fiscal policy will remain on track to meet the debt reduction target, while monetary policy is expected to steer inflation back to low single digits by the end of 2015, despite pressures from depreciation. International reserves are expected to remain stable in 2015, with adequate import coverage, according to staff assessments,” he added.

The IMF noted that wage levels need to also stay compatible in order to preserve gains made in macroeconomic stability and to ensure international competitiveness.

“The authorities’ structural reform agenda continues to advance. The authorities are on track to implement all structural measures planned for the first review in a timely manner. Staff highlighted the risks that public enterprises can pose to the public finances and development of the private sector and stressed the importance of pursuing plans to strengthen their oversight and governance, while enlarging the private sector’s role in the economy.”



The Chellen family lawyer Veda Baloomoody said he was “wary of the way the Seychelles police is leading the enquiry into Harmon Chellen’s death”.

Mr Baloomoody’s statement comes after the press release issued by Commissioner of Police Ernest Quatre last Wednesday following the announcement by Attorney General Ronny Govinden, that a judicial inquest would be set up to establish the cause of Mr Chellen’s death. In the communiqué, Mr Quatre said that it had been established “through our investigation that Mr Chellen did leave the Port Glaud police station unnoticed and without permission, at around 12.10 on the day of his death, with his body found floating in the sea near l’Islette at Port Glaud at around 2.50pm, that same day”.

“I am very surprised by this latest communiqué of the Seychelles police. It’s the first time I hear that Harmon Chellen was supposed to have left the police station at 12.10! I was there and I saw the Occurrence book and it was down in black and white that Harmon Chellen left the police station at 2.28pm. There was no entry in the Occurrence book that said anything about 12.10. And this makes me even more wary of the way the police enquiry is being led. This is why I am again asking, in the name of the family, that an independent and impartial enquiry be led”, Le Défi Quotidien, a Mauritian newspaper, quoted Mr Baloomoody as saying.

In addition more confusion still remains as originally the Police had stated that “Chellen was brought to the police station for questioning and left without cooperating with the police” which would presumably indicate he was not arrested and were aware that he had left the police station. There was no mention of him going missing and instigating a search. Bruce Bursik a few days later told the media that when Chellen's absence was noticed, the police immediately began searching for him; unequivocally contradicting their earlier statement. And only recently the Attorney General indicated that he is of the opinion that the deceased died whilst in police custody. All these contradictions clearly point to an attempted cover up. The Mauritian autopsy had also revealed injuries to Chellen`s left temple which the Seychelles equivalent had surprisingly missed. The missing shoes and shirt when the body was recovered floating at sea also adds to the mystery.

The lawyer further asked that the enquiry not be led by the police, saying it would be “the only way to find out what happened in the four hours that Mr Chellen was at the police station”.

Inquests into sudden deaths are important. When a person is found dead in suspicious circumstances, or has committed suicide, or has died in police custody, an inquest enables society to investigate the reasons for the death, and provides the family of the deceased with information from a transparent and independent source as to the who, the why and the wherefore of the death. This is important for all sorts of reasons, not least of which is closure. The law recognises this and makes provision for it. In all cases of sudden death the Attorney General has the discretion to order an inquest. In cases where the death is in prison or police custody the Attorney General must order an inquest to be held.

Because the available law was not used as it should for many years, numerous cases of sudden deaths went without being enquired into properly or at all. There are examples of the numerous deaths of escaped prisoners or escaping suspects and the like who were more often not captured alive but died in very suspicious circumstances indeed. All these cases were deserving of an inquest so that the truth would be known once and for all.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014


The two faced and inconsistent Editor of the Seychelles Weekly is at it again. After first claiming that “they were pressurizing the Interim Leader to launch personal attacks on certain businessmen through the Seychelles Weekly but he refused”, the corrupt Editor, on the 19th of September, contradicted himself as usual by publishing an article on the Marco Francis forged degree certificate. All this after allegedly a huge brown envelope had exchanged hands; the paymaster is livid at the two faced editor as no refund will be forthcoming. The editor will do anything for money. Below are excerpts from the Seychelles Weekly article of that week:
I am bewildered by the way the ‘Dr Marco Fanny’ debacle has been conveniently swept under the carpet by the Michel Administration. Even the local media houses have been very prudent, for good measure in addressing the saga. Are we going down the slippery slope towards a failed State where administrative malpractice and corruption is now so common that it has become ‘acceptable’ to us the silent majority? To falsify a University degree is not only a case of forgery and counterfeiting, but it is a felony i.e a serious criminal offence punishable by law in most modern democracies. That the culprit forms part of the “Famous 14” who have in the words of President Michel distinguished themselves in their respective fields. In which field has this fraudster distinguished himself? He seems to be carrying on with business as usual as if no wrong doing has been committed. We hear of many cases of corrupt and deceitful practice in the country that we have learnt to live with it; so to speak; hoping that one day the electorate will wake up, see the light and throw this governing lot of greedy fat cats out on the street.
 What sizzles one’s bacon is the fact that this case of the forgery of a degree from the University of Durham in UK is so open and blatant and that no action seems to have been taken by the authorities in Government. It is an insult to all those of us who believe in professionalism and honest and ethical administrative practice. Would this have been tolerated in our neighbouring Island of Mauritius; where there is a strong and robust opposition that keeps not only Government but the business sector on its toes? Again Mauritius like South Africa has a very open free and watchful media that will take any government employee to task wherever they sniff that any deceitful and unacceptable act is uncovered. Sadly in Seychelles we cannot expect very much from the National Assembly as the so- called opposition is a ‘Joke’.
 Many Seychellois feel bitter disappointment that one of the ‘offenders’ in the Saga is a senior staff in the Ministry of Finance. We dared raise our hope when the Minister pontificated that he would make it a point to address corrupt practices in the country. What legacy are you leaving behind in Finance? And what about your conscience? One more time we may be witnessing yet another case where Government officials are bent on furthering their own agenda with little regard for the interests of the very people and country they are supposed to serve.

Steve Fanny has also publicly been caught contradicting himself. In a statement to a national newspaper he stated “ I did everything necessary. The issue was discussed lengthily by the board. We had no evidence to take any legal action with the individual”. Clearly lying through his teeth.

In addition, Fanny indicated that other board members had expressed satisfaction with the outcome of the investigation. This is in stark contrast to what former board members are revealing. One former insider source claims that no documents were ever shown at the meetings and that recommendations had been not to issue any license to any company Marco Francis was in the process of submitting an application.

The forged degree certificate was even cited in the Supreme court case of Celine Francis against the Seychelles International Business Authority in 2009 in regards to the application of an offshore license.

President Michel had stated back in 2004 at his inaugural speech that “I see a society where there is no place for corruption and favouritism”. So like he asked, he will be judged by his actions. Furthermore, the President will be now be seen as undistinguished by the rest of the population by his attempts at sweeping this matter under carpet.

By A.Pierre


It has come to light that in 2008 Marco Francis, the current Chairman of the Seychelles Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI), had deceitfully submitted a forged document in the form of a degree certificate to the Seychelles Financial Authority (FSA) which was formerly the Seychelles International Business Authority (SIBA) in an attempt to trick the authority. The suspicious degree certificate from Durham University was investigated at that time by Dr Steve Fanny himself as the Managing director of SIBA, with the findings from the University confirming the forged document. The fake degree certificate was presumably a required document in setting up an offshore company for the SCCI chairman. Dr Fanny, now the Principal Secretary for Economic Policy, Trade and Investment, for reasons only known to him decided to hide and suppress the findings by taking no appropriate action at this attempt to defraud and deceive the authority he was entrusted as Managing Director.

On 16th October 2008 Dr Fanny wrote a letter to Mr Paul Brierley, the Examinations and Assessment Manager at Durham University at that time, to verify the authenticity of the submitted degree certificate.  In the letter he specifically queries the spelling error with “Honours” spelt “Houours”; a clear giveaway.

In the response of Mr Brierley he confirmed that it was indeed not an authentic Durham University certificate, citing numerous reasons including the fact that the signatures of the Vice Chancellor and Registrar are not correct. He further indicated that they had no record of any student named Marco Lorenzo Francis having attended Durham University. The primary objective of the SCCI is to promote and protect all types of business and investment in Seychelles and this will come as a most staggering embarrassment for the association. And it will also be an embarrassment for President James Michel, as the SCCI chairman is part of the 14 distinguished member of the National Forum. Marco Francis is now all but distinguished; a distinguished fraudster and deceiver perhaps.

Upon investigating the matter at hand, Durham University was contacted to confirm the enquiry by Dr Fanny. In an email received from the Student Registry, Durham University confirmed  that “this letter is authentic, all of the information given in the letter is correct, and it was sent from Durham University by Mr Paul Brierley.”

With the confirmation of the forgery and in the capacity to discharge his functions as Managing Director, Dr Fanny should have used his best endeavour to ensure that the Authority operates in accordance with the principles of good governance and to fulfil its statutory obligations and properly discharges its functions.  No action whatsoever was taken; a gross and shameful neglect of Dr Fanny’s duties.  How many other cases has Dr Fanny swept under the carpet, was there collusion between the two parties in the form of bribery , what else as a Principal Secretary in the Finance Ministry could Dr Fanny be hiding  and now questions have to be raised regarding the recent fire at the FSA.

The Penal code states that forgery is the making of a false document with intent to defraud or to deceive and “who makes a document purporting to be what in fact it is not”. Furthermore “any person who forges any judicial or official document is liable to imprisonment for ten years”. Recently it was brought to the attention that a criminal investigation by the police on this matter has been ongoing for the past three months. The police have all the necessary documents but have been painfully slow in acting; they seem petrified to investigate the case.

The case of Marco Francis is clear cut; a felony was committed. It was investigated by the Managing director of SIBA and no action was taken as required by law and the truth kept away from the public; a clear violation of ethics and the duties of Dr Fanny. They can never be trusted again. The people of Seychelles deserve better and because of this most shameful and deceitful law breaking act, both Marco Francis and Steve Fanny must resign immediately to restore any confidence left in the SCCI and Ministry of Finance.

By A.Pierre