Savy v Affif & Anor (CS 99 of 2015) [2019] SCSC 702 (21 August 2019)

Defamation|Delict and Tort Law




  1. The question for determination in this matter is whether Mr Ahmed Afif(“First Defendant”), a prominent political figure in Seychelles, defamed Mr David Savy (“Plaintiff”), the former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer(“CEO”) of Air Seychelles and well-known businessman.
  2. The alleged defamation occurred in 2015, when Mr Afif presented and made remarks at a public meeting. Mr Savy claims that the remarks and presentation were understood to be about him, and were intended to defame him. He has sought damages to the sum of Seychelles Rupees One million SCR 1,000,000 against Mr Afif for the alleged defamation.
  3. For the most part, the factual background surrounding this claim is uncontentious. The Plaintiff was the CEO of Air Seychelles from 1997 till 2011. This was publicly known.
  4. On 6th September 2015, political party Lalyans Seselwa held a public meeting at the International Conference Centre (“ICCS”), Bois de Rose. Mr Afif was then the Secretary-General of the party. The meeting was attended by amongst others, Mr Patrick Pillay, William Herminie, Clifford Andre of the party. Members of the public were also in attendance.
  5. During the meeting, Mr Afif gave a power-point presentation with five slides. These slides contained statements in Creole and had on some of them, pictures of the Plaintiff and of aeroplanes of Air Seychelles. He showed these slides, and made remarks about them in Creole.
  6. Mr Afif has contested the translation of the contents of the slides, and the contents of his comments on the slides. He has, however, not presented his own translations and has instead placed it upon the Plaintiff to prove their veracity.
  7. He started by saying “Pran zot letan parske lalyans i konnen pou dir zot in pran sa larzan. Kontinyen rode.” Translated: Take [your] their time because Lalyans knows that they [you] have taken that money. Continue to look.
  8. He then presented the slides. The first contained a photograph of Mr Savy with a Dr Rajiv Bissessur and the word “koripsyon” was written in black on top of the image. The word “Koripsyon” translates to “Corruption”.
  9. In relation to this slide, Mr Afif said the following in creole:

«Koripsyon pa fini la. Zot rapel nou ti annan nou en zoli lakonpannyen ki apel Air Seychelles, ki ti pou nou? I nepli pou nou. Nou demann zot enn ti kestyon, ki mannyer an 2009, ki mannyer zot ti perdi 5.4 milyon Ero an 2009? Be ler nou demann sa kestyon, parske nou fyer nou pei e nou rapel ki zot ti vinn kot gouveernman e zot dir ek gouvernman pret zot 255 milyon roupi.»

  1. According to the Plaintiff, the English translation of these words are:

Corruption does not stop here. You remember we had a nice company which was called Air Seychelles, which was ours? It is no longer ours. We asked them a small question, how come in 2009, how come they lost 5.4 million Euros in 2009? We asked them that question? When we asked them that question, because we are proud of our country and we recall they come to the Government and said to the Government, lend them 255 million rupees

  1. Another slide contained the words ‘Ankor Koripsyon’ (translated, “More Corruption”) at the top, with a picture of an Air Seychelles aeroplane and the following bullet points that: “governman ti fer kadoDe san senkann-senk milyon (S.R.255,000,000) sibvansyon; Ekivalan senk mil senk san (S.R. 5,500) dan pos sak travayer Seselwa; ti dir pa bezwen rode kot nal mal”. These statements translate to “the Government gifted SR 255 million as subvention. Equivalent to SR 5 500 from the pocket of each Seychellois worker. It was said there was no need to enquire where it went wrong!
  2. He said the followingin reference to this slide:

«Wi nou bann zanmi, zot ti demann pret zot 255 milyon Roupi aloz zot in defons en trou dan zot bidze. Ler i demann prete ek governman savedir in  demann ek zot parskek zot ki pey larzan ki donn gouvernman tou lemwan. Si ou kalkile desan senkann senk (255) milyon roupi I annan 46,000 travayer sesel, sakenn de zot travayer in n donn Air Seychelles senk mil senksan (5,500) roupi. Sakenn zot in donnen, mon dir donnen pa prete akoz la I pa pe ran. I pa pe rann. Savedir en mwan zot saler zot in pran zot in vid dan entrou. E ler nou demande, be myse ou’n pran en mwan nou saler be esplik nou akoz oun pran e n mwan nou saler? Ler nou demande zot dir pa bezwen rod kot  nal mal. Sey aranz bato anfen avyon me Selman pa demande kot nal mal. Be nou dan lalyans Seselwa nou anvi zot konnen kot nal mal. Mon kwar I enportan zot konnen kot nal mal.» 

  1. The English translation:

Yes my friends, they asked to borrow 255 million Rupees because they had created a hole in their budget. When it asked to borrow from the Government it means it has asked to borrow from you because you pay money to the Government every month. If you calculate 255 million rupees there are 46,000 workers in Seychelles, each one of you worker has given to Air Seychelles 5500 Rupees. Each one of you has given. I say given not lend because it is not paying back. It is not paying back. This means one month of your salary you have taken you have thrown it down a hole. And when we asked, but Mister, you’ve taken one month of our salaries? When we asked they say there is no need to enquire where it went wrong. Try to fix the boat, well the plane but do not ask where it went wrong. But we in Lalyans Seselwa we want to know where it went wrong. I believe it is important that you know where it went wrong. I believe it is important that you know where it went wrong.

  1. Another slide contained the words “Ankor koripsyon” and the bullet points stating“lwe avyon ek ILFC ; De ti asiz permanan lo koltar; ILFC ti anmas dis mil dolar ($10,000) par zour lo sak avyon”. These words translate to: “More Corruption.....leased five aeroplanes from ILFC. Two sat permanently on the tarmac. ILFC collected $10 000 per day on each aeroplane.”
  2. This slide had a pictureoffive Air Seychelles aeroplanes parked on the tarmac at what seems to be the Seychelles International Airport at Port Larue. The first Defendant said the following in relation to this slide:

« Mon montre zot sa portre pou vwar pou dir an sa lepok nou ti annan nou senk avyon, tou le senk i la. Zot nepli la. Akoz ti annan senk avyon? Akoz zot tip e lwe sa senk avyon. Me toultan ti annan zis de avyon ki ti pe fer lerop, trwazyenm avyon ti al Moris, Sengapour ek Sid Afrik e de a vyon ti reste park lo sa koltar Pointe Larue. Sa  de avyon ki ti reste park ti pe kout sa pei 10 mil dolar par zour par avyon. 20 mil dollar par avyon ti pe asize lor sa koltar pa pe ganny en sou akoz i pa anvole. Eski i difisil pou nou konpran si ou annan de masin pe asiz ater ven mil (20,000) dolar par zour preski de san senkant (250) milyon roupi par zour, kid an en semen oun depans ou 1.8 milyon roupi, ou pa pou anfonse vitman ou pou ariv de san senkann senk (255), e ler ou per fer tousuala lekel ki pe ganny larzan? Ou perdi ou. Be sa boug ki lwe ou avyon ki per fer larzan parske li xis is assize I park son avyon lo ou koltar in anmas ven mil (20,000) dolar par zour. Se sa enn bann rezon ki sa lakonpannyen to fayit. »

  1. Translated:

I show you this photograph to show that during that time we had five aeroplanes, all five are here. They are no longer here. Why were there five aeroplanes” Because they were leasing five aeroplanes. But at all times there were only two aeroplanes which went to Europe, a third aeroplane went to Mauritius, Singapore and South Africa and two aeroplanes which remained on the tarmac at pointe Larue. The two aeroplanes which remained parked was costing the country ten (10) thousand dollars per day per plane. Twenty (20) thousand dollars per aeroplane which remained on the tarmac not earning a cent as it was not flying. Is it difficult for us to understand that if you have two engines which remain on the ground, twenty (20) thousand dollars per day, nearly two hundred and twenty thousand million Rupees per day, that in one week you’ve spent 1.8 million Rupees, would you not sink quickly for you to reach 255, and when you are doing all of this, who is losing money? You are the one losing. But the guy who is leasing you the aeroplane is making money because he sits down he parks his aeroplanes on your tarmac and he collects twenty thousand (20,000) dollars per day. This is one of the reasons that this company went bankrupt.

  1. Another slide contained the words, “Vann tiket ek dalon”“Lafrans sesel pour Euro 280 oubyen S.R. 4200 ek dalon enkli klas biznes; dalon I revann pour Euro 800) oubyen 12,000”. These words translate to: “Selling tickets to friends … France to Seychelles €280 or SCR4200 to a friend including business class….Friend resells for €800 or SCR12000.”
  2. The First Defendant said this in relation to the slide:

«Mon pa pou koz bokou lor la. Mon pou donn zot en ot lekzanp akoz sa lakonpannyen to desann. Pa sa. Zot tip e vann tiket ek zot dalon. Eski zot ti konnen pou diri ler I tip e perdi larzan Air Seychelles ti pe vann en tiket ek son dalon kat mil desan (4200) roupi sorti lafrans pou vinn Mae kat mil Desan (4200) roupi. Sa dalon i en reseler, i vann sa tiket 12,000 Roupi ek kliyan, kliyan i pey 12,000. Air seychelles i anmas 4,200 Ruopi en boug i pran 8,000 roupi i met dan son pos. Avyon i antre plen, plen debarke sorti lafrans, deborde, lakonpannyen i fayit malgre avyon i plen. Se sa ki Air Seychelles ti pe pas ladan. Mwan mon pe dir ek zot, lekel ki responsab tousala. Sa boug kin lwe ou avyon parske sa boug ki lwe ou avyon, ki ganny li zis ek nou 20 mil dollar par zour ozordi sa lakonpannyen ki li I ti travay avevk in kite I form son prop lakonpannyen e ozordi i vo 3.7 milyar dolar. Pa zis pou nou petet in fer dil lezot landrwa.»

  1. The translation in English:

I will not talk a lot about that. I will give you another example as to why the company went down. Not that. They were selling tickets to their friend. Did you know that when it was losing money Air Seychelles was selling a ticket to his friend Four Thousand Two Hundred (4200) rupees to travel from France to Mahe. Four Thousand Two Hundred (4200 rupees. That friend is a re-seller, he sells tickets twelve thousand (12,000) rupees tote to that, the clients pay twelve thousand (12,000) rupees, Air Seychelles collects four thousand  two hundred (4200) rupees a guy pockets eight thousand (8000) rupees. The aeroplane comes in full, full form France, the company goes bankrupt despite the aeroplane is full. This is what Air Seychelles was going through. I am asking, who is responsible for all of that? Who benefited from all of this? This guy who leased you the aeroplanes because they guy who leased you the aeroplanes is the one who receives only form us twenty thousand (20,000) dollars per day. Today he has left the company that he worked for and created his own company and today he is worth 3.7 million dollars. Not only from us maybe he did other deals elsewhere.

  1. The following slide contained the words “The Good Life SR 1 paran”. It also showed Mr Savy in the picture with one Mr. Sunil Shah at the latter’s home on Round Island. The slide also contained a copy of the first page of the lease agreement between Trinity Estate(Pty) Ltd and the Government of Seychelles and the following words in that lease was encircled with a black mark: “an annual rent of Seychelles Rupees One only”. The first Defendant said this in relation to this slide:

“Nou zanmi ki li i ti ansarz sa lakonpannyen kin fer koule li pe enjoy ek son dalon, zwazo menm nik, kinn ganny en zil ki in lwe ek li par gouvernman en roupi (S.R.1) par mwan, zot lo sa zil ki zot pe gete la. Si zot pa oule kwar la son lis kot inn pey en roupi (S.R. 1) par mwan.»

  1. The English translation:

Our friend who was in charge of that Company which he sank, he is enjoying with his friend, birds of the same feathers, who has got an island that has been leased to him by the government one (1) rupee per month.

  1. He also said:

“Kin arrive finalman zot in vann nou byen. Nou nepli annan nou laprid, nou kip e pey det parske sa bann zans kanntmenm zot in dir zot pe donn nou en goudmen nou kip e pey sa bann det, zot pa pe peye. Nou nou’n perdi control, nou’n perdi nou dignite. Lo nou moto zot a war toultan no dir i enportan pou nou annan nou dignite, me dan sa ka nou’n perdi nou dignite. Ozordi sa lakonpannyen i ankor pe perdi larzan. Se pa mwan ki pe dir. Monn met website ki zot kapab al lo lal. Zot a war ekzakteman ki lemon i panse lo Air Seychelles. i pe perdi larzan ziska ozordi. Sa rapor ki monn mete ti 2015 siporte par fron moniter enternasyonal.”

  1. Translated:

What has happened finally, they sold our property. We no longer have our laprid, we are the ones paying the debt, those people despite saying they are giving us a helping hand, we are the ones paying all these debts, they are not paying. We have lost control, we have lost our dignity. In our moto you always see we always say it is important for us to maintain our dignity, but in this case we have lost our dignity. Today this company is still losing money. It is not me who is saying this. I have shown the website which you may access. You will see exactly what the world thinks on or Seychelles. It is losing money until today. The report I have shown is 2015 supported by the International Monetary Fund.”

  1. The Plaintiff, Mr Savy felt that these remarks were defamatory, and on 12thOctober 2015, he lodged a Plaint in this Court, seeking, as mentioned, compensation of Seychelles Rupees One Million (SCR 1,000,000/-) from the First Defendant.

The Plaint

  1. In his Plaint, he claimed that in addition to the presentation at the meeting, the First Defendant also maliciously published or caused to be published, a video of the First Defendant publishing the allegedly defamatory words at the public meeting, by placing it on YouTube. This video was accessed by a large but unquantifiable number of people who understood Creole.
  2. In his view, the words that the First Defendant said were understood by all to refer to him (the Plaintiff). He was also referred to in two pictures. The words mentioned were published simultaneously with the publication of the photographs. Large numbers of persons who heard the words would reasonably have understood them to be referring to the Plaintiff.
  3. He stated in his Plaint that the words used by the First Defendant were defamatory in their natural and ordinary meaning, alternatively, by innuendo. They were intended to convey that the Plaintiff has committed corruption in the manner he managed Air Seychelles Ltd; that he is a corrupt individual; that he sold tickets at a low price to his friend so that his friend could make a profit by selling the tickets at a higher price to the detriment of Air Seychelles Ltd; that he abused his position as Chairman and CEO of Air Seychelles Ltd and took decisions that were not in its best interest; that he was responsible for Air Seychelles facing financial troubles or going bankrupt; and that he is corrupt and dishonest like it is alleged Sunil Shah is, whom the Plaintiff is close friends with.
  4. In his Plaint, he also included the Second Defendant Laylans Seselwa as having procured and participated in the publication of the words. But, he later withdrew the claim against the Second Defendant when it issued a public apology.
  5. As regards the YouTube clip, he alleged that this was still available on YouTube at the time that he filed his action.
  6. He complained that the words caused him hurt, distress and embarrassment in his profession and office. Lamenting that he was brought into public scandal, abhorrence and contempt as a result of this publication by the Defendants, and his reputation seriously damaged. Thus, he was entitled to SR 1,000,000 from the Defendants, jointly and severally, along with interests and costs of the suit. With the Second Defendant no longer a party, the claim persists only against Mr Afif.

The Defence

  1. Mr Afif filed a statement of defence on12thJanuary 2016 and essentially admitted making the statements and publications at the public meeting. But, he raised several defences. He stated that the words used were, in his view, true in substance. Alternatively, they were opinions expressed which by nature cannot be true or false. He stated that the comments were made in the public interest. That it was not malicious or defamatory. Instead, these were matters of purely public interest, he said them in good faith and without any malice.
  2. Heclaims that the information that he shared at this public meeting was information thatthe public had a right to know. He had been requested to carry out an audit report on Air Seychelles. This report was presented to then-President James Alix Michel, in the Plaintiff’s presence and that of Minister Joel Morgan. He had recommendedthat the Financial Forensic Investigators be called in, but this request was denied and the report (that he had done) was shelved.
  3. He denied that the words bore or were understood to bear or were capable of bearing the meaning alleged by the Plaintiff. He denied that they were false and malicious. Or that they were defamatory. The words used were, in his view, true in substance. Alternatively, they were opinions expressed which by nature cannot be true or false. They were a fair comment upon a matter of public interest, said in good faith and without malice. They pertained the conduct of the affairs of Air Seychelles, a public company under the leadership of the Plaintiff for over 15 years.
  4. He denied that the translation of his comments regarding the slides was accurate, and placed the Plaintiff to the proof of this.
  5. He denied that the publishing, display and exhibiting of the slides bore or were understood to bear the meaning alleged by the Plaintiff, i.e., that he was a corrupt individual, and responsible for the financial meltdown Air Seychelles faced.
  6. He has also rebutted the translation of the contents of the slide, stating that these were not accurately translated.
  7. With regards to the audiences’ appreciation and understating of the comments and presentation, he denied that these were understood to bear the meanings alleged.
  8. He denied posting the video of his presentation and commentary on YouTube, and denied the allegation that this was accessible to a large unquantifiable number of persons who understood Creole.
  9. He denied that the two pictures in the slides referred to the Plaintiff, and that the Plaintiff was specifically referred to by virtue of the publication of the words which were published simultaneously with the publication of the photographs. He also denied that a large number of persons who heard the words would reasonably have understood them as referring to the Plaintiff.
  10. The First Defendant denied that the words complained of were defamatory of the Plaintiff in their ordinary meaning, or by innuendo. Particularly, they did not mean, and could not be understood to mean that the Plaintiff had committed corruption in the manner that he managed Air Seychelles Ltd; that he is a corrupt or dishonest individual; that he sold tickets at a low price to friends so that they could make a profit to the detriment of Air Seychelles Ltd; that he abused his position as the Chairman and CEO and took decisions which were not in the interest of Air Seychelles Ltd; that he was responsible for Air Seychelles’ financial meltdown or going bankrupt; or that the Plaintiff was corrupt and dishonest like his close friend, Sunil Shah was alleged to be.
  11. In regard to the above, he insists with his defence that the presentation and comments were true in substance. Alternatively, they were opinions expressed which by nature cannot be true or false, and made in the public interests. That it was not malicious or defamatory. Instead, these were matters of purely public interests, he said them in good faith and without any malice. He insisted that the information that he shared at this public meeting was information that the public had a right to know.
  12. He denied any knowledge that the video of the presentation was, at the time of instituting the Plaint, still online for public viewing.
  13. Lastly, he denied that the Plaintiff suffered any serious damage to his reputation or that he suffered hurt, distress and embarrassment in his profession and office. He denied that the Plaintiff has been brought into public scandal, abhorrence and contempt as a result of the publication. Thus, the Plaintiff was not entitled to the damages and costs that he has claimed.

The Evidence

  1. In addition to his own testimony, the Plaintiff called two witnesses namely Mr. Richard Young and Mr. Emile Belmont. The first Defendant testified on his own behalf. The evidence of the Plaintiff sought to show that the allegations against him were false, and thus defamatory. The First Defendant, on the other end, led evidence that the comments were substantially true, alternatively, that this was a fair comment that was necessary to share with the public as they had a right to this information.
  2. The Plaintiff testified that he was 58 years of age, self-employed resident in Seychelles. He held several positions on national and international boards. For example, locally he sat on the boards of Sky Chef, SCAA and the Institute of Early Childhood Development and was treasurer of Seychelles’ Children’s Home Foundation. Internationally, he was the chairperson of the leading African aircraft leasing company. He also sat on the Emirates RIET, which is a trust.
  3. He had been in the aviation industryfor his entire career. He started off as a pilot and later took the position of Chief Pilot with Air Seychelles. Thereafter, he moved into management as the Director of Operations. He was then asked to take the position of CEO of Air Seychelles in 1997, first on an interim basis. He held the CEO position for almost fourteen years.
  4. As regards the public meeting and the comments leading to the action, he was not present at the public meeting, but was told about it and it was covered in the media. It was also posted on YouTube, and was still there on 21stMay 2018 under the name of Lalyans Seselwa ICCS. The particular portion thereof that concerned Air Seychelles was seven minutes and twenty-eight seconds long.
  5. As to the substance of what the first Defendant said, the Plaintiff testified that the allegation that there were aircraft leased at USD 20,000 per day was false. In this regard, he stated that the airline had five aircrafts in 2010. Each operating its own specific route. One of the aircrafts was a backup one and was leased at an extremely low rate because ILFC or Boeing was unable to deliver a 787 in time. They leased this for USD 10,000 per month. Another one was USD 110,000 per month, and had lease agreements to this effect. He stated that Mr Afif having been on the board at that time, knew this. He denied that Air Seychelles had two planes during the period 2009 and 2011 which were sitting on the tarmac while Air Seychelles paid USD 10,000 per day in lease instalments. He testified that the most expensive lease rate paid was USD 496,000 per month for the aircraft that did the European routes (the 767-300).
  6. The aircraft that was alleged to be sitting unused on the tarmac, was doing five rotations per week to Paris. The spare aircraft, which cost USD 10,000per month was used to replace the others when these had to undergo maintenance for four or two weeks per year. It would have cost in the region of USD 200,000 for one rotation from Paris to Seychelles and back.
  7. He denied that there were any planes sitting, unused, on the tarmac from 2005 to 2011. The Plaintiff’s counsel attempted to place before the Court, certain invoices from 2010 which spoke to the leased aircraft. The first Defendant’s counsel objected, on the ground that the first Defendant had not referred in his slides to 2010, but had specifically referred to 2009. Thus, the invoices were irrelevant since they did not relate to 2009.
  8. He then presented into evidence, the lease agreement of the two aircraft(767-200 and Sierra 7 ILF). The ILF was USD 10,000 per month but it had started at USD 75,000 in August 2009 for seven months, and then at USD 95,000 for two months, USD 83,000 for one month and then USD 10,000 for the duration of the lease. The first Defendant was a member of the Air Seychelles board at the time. He was the Principal Secretary of Finance and had access to the lease agreements. He knew that the leased aircraft did not cost USD 10,000 per day.
  9. The second plane, the Sierra 7 SEZ had an agreement that commenced on 9thFebruary 2009. For the first six months, it cost USD 100,0000 per month. From six to twelve months, USD 105,000, from thirteen to eighteen months, USD 110,000, from nineteen to twenty-four months, USD 125,000.
  10. The Plaintiff also presented invoices, which made reference to a 2008 agreement. The First Defendant’s counsel, Mr Andre, objected to the presentation of the invoices because his client had referred to 2009 in his presentation. The Plaintiff explained that the reference to 2008 in the invoice was as a result of a delay in the 787 that Air Seychelles had in their development plan. The invoice, in his view, supports the view that they were billed the amount in the agreement. The Court ruled that the invoice dated 28thSeptember 2010 and written ‘in pursuance of the agreement dated 25thJune 2008’ was admissible. This invoice was accepted as Exhibit (P2).
  11. He testified about Air Seychelles’ performance during his tenure as CEO. The company enjoyed a great profit over the years 1998 to 2007. It experienced its first loss in the year 2008 to 2009 in the amount of €2.7 million. And €5.3 million for 2009 – 2010. In total, the company made a profit of €17 million and a loss of approximately € 9 million while he was at the helm. It was his view that overall, the company made profits during his term.
  12. The Court also accepted the uncontested USB with the presentation and comments into evidence.
  13. With regards to the content of the slides and the comments at the meeting, especially regarding the losses suffered by Air Seychelles. He conceded that Air Seychelles did loose €5.4 million in 2009. This was during a year that he was CEO. But the impression created here by the first Defendant was that he (the Plaintiff) was responsible for bringing the company down to this loss. The slide also spoke about SCR 225,000,000 bailout from Government. He stated that this money was for the payment of deposits of the aircraft on the 787 and the twin otters. Air Seychelles needed to renew its fleet and since the Government was the sole shareholder, Air Seychelles needed to turn to it for the share capital.
  14. With regards to the losses suffered, he testified that there were many factors that contributed to this. Such factors included fuel prices escalating in 2009 from USD 70 to USD 140 per barrel. This was a record high in aviation history. Fifty-five percent of the total cost of the airline was out of the control of the company and nothing could be done about that. They could not hedge the fuel prices like they had in the past. There was also an aircraft that had been damaged in Paris, causing it to be inoperative for approximately six months.
  15. He further testified that the SCR 225,000,00 injection from the Government was the first that Government had to do since his reign in 1997. Thus, he took offence to the suggestions made by the first Defendant regarding this money since Air Seychelles’ turnover had ranged between USD120 millionand USD150million per year. Further, Air Seychelles had contributed freely to Seypec projects and SMB for no consideration.
  16. The money was used to purchase two domestic aircrafts each at USD 7 million. Each had a pre-deposit amount of USD 3.5 million.He testified that it was normal for state-owned companies to get bailed out by the government and there was nothing untoward about Air Seychelles getting funds from the government. This was the normal course of business for airlines. But the way in which the first Defendant framed it in his slides and comments, made it seem as if the Plaintiff was taking SCR 5,500 from every Seychellois worker’s pocket to give to Air Seychelles. This he found prejudicial.
  17. In relation to the slide and statement that he was selling tickets to friends, he testified that he believed that when the first Defendant spoke of ‘friends’, he was referring to Air France. He explained that Air Seychelles and Air France had entered into a joint venture in 1997. Air Seychelles sold two-way tickets to Air France for SCR 8400 and not SCR 4200 as suggested by the first respondent. Air France then, of its own accord, resold these tickets at higher rates. There was an option to resell back to Air Seychelles if the blocks were not filed timeously. He believed that this joint venture saved Air Seychelles in 1997 and allowed it to be profitable thereafter. This was a mechanism used to ensure that all the seats were filled. Air Seychelles had a mandate to promote tourism and make money toward the economy. Having a joint venture was important.
  18. He also explained that Air France sold the tickets on business class at higher rates than SCR 12, 000 because the average ticket from Seychelles to France was €800, which were called publish fares. There were also inclusive fares, where tour operators included accommodation and transfer fares in certain circumstances. So it was misleading of the First Defendant to say that Air Seychelles was settling for €280 while they resold for €800. As mentioned, it was double of 280, as it was returned. It was unfair to say that this arrangement constituted corruption.
  19. He again rebuffed the claim that there were any aircraft that sat, unused, on the tarmac. And the allegation that these were costing USD 10, 000 per day, calling this a ‘blatant lie’.
  20. With reference to the claim that his friend, Mr Sunil Shah, had leased an island for SCR 1 he agreed that he was good friends with Mr Shah from years ago. He did not know how much Mr Shah paid for the lease, but was aware that he had taken the lease over from Mrs Doris Kalei. But he did not know how much he paid for the lease of Round Island.
  21. In his view, the suggestion in the slide was that he and Mr Shah, who were pictured together in the pool, were in cahoots in that he was making it possible for Mr Shah to enjoy a lease of SCR 1 for an island. He felt that the suggestion ‘dirtied’ his name.
  22. With regards to the sale of Air Seychelles to Etihad Airways, he stated that this sale happened when he had already left Air Seychelles.
  23. He stated that while he was at Air Seychelles, three internal audits were done including by the Ministry of Finance when the funds were sought from the Government. Ernst &Young Paris also conducted one when economic reforms were done. The audits came back clean. When the Ministry of Finance was unsatisfied, an American firm called GRA came to do a forensic audit which gave Air Seychelles a glowing report for its ability to hold its own against the competition from the Gulf carriers.
  24. He testified that the very fi
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