A joint investigation between the Fiji Police Force and New Zealand Police has resulted in the successful conviction of a prominent local businessman Umarji Aiyaz Mohammed Musa.
Musa was sentenced to four years and will serve his term of imprisonment in New Zealand.
Musa appeared at the Auckland District Court last Wednesday for sentencing regarding his involvement in three separate drug importations into New Zealand in 2017.
Chief of Intelligence and Investigations, ACP Sakeo Raikaci says Musa was the mastermind behind a syndicate importing and exporting illicit drugs throughout the Pacific.
He says Musa’s four other associates have also been convicted and sentenced.
Roadworker drove stolen digger through town to steal ATM from Wainuiomata BP
Luke Randall drove a stolen digger through town to a petrol station where he attempted to steal an ATM machine but instead caused $170,000 in damages before running off.
Around 1.30am on May 16 last year, Randall, 35, drove to a K&D Contracting worksite on Queen St in Wainuiomata, a site owned by his father.
There, he removed temporary fencing, entered the yard and broke the lock to a Hitachi seven-tonne excavator.
After turning it on with an unknown tool, he drove the industrial machine across two lanes of traffic toward the BP service station forecourt on Wainuiomata Rd, before parking himself directly in front of the station’s ATM.
Randall used the “boom arm” of the excavator to smash windows and crush the roof of the service station before causing further damage in an attempt to get the ATM.
But about two minutes later, he jumped out of the digger and ran off.
Today, the roadworker appeared in the Wellington District Court where he faced sentencing on charges of unlawfully taking the excavator and burglary. A charge of wilful damage has been withdrawn.
Judge Bruce Davidson noted the $170,000 worth of damage he caused and described the series of events as “quite spectacular” and “dramatic”.
Crown prosecutor Rachel Buckman said the amount of reparation sought by the business was $170,844, but accepted ” couple thousand dollars could be realistic” for the newly employed man.
Buckman said a sentence of home detention was “in the realm” of an appropriate outcome for Randall.
“The level of damage done was extraordinary in this case and needs to be taken seriously with a punitive element,” she said.
Defence lawyer Lara Caris said there was a clear nexus between her client’s addiction issues and his offending.
She said steps towards rehabilitation and a new job in traffic management had set him on a better path.
Judge Davidson acknowledged that pre-sentence reports had shown his willingness to confront his substance issues.
He said a sentence of home detention would allow Randall’s counselling and employment to continue.
Randall was sentenced to 10 months of home detention and ordered to pay $3000 of the $170,844 in reparation.
“Although it is only a token of reparation sought, I have to approach the issue with realism and pragmatism,” Judge Davidson said.
* This story originally appeared in the New Zealand Herald.
Multiple houses on fire in Māngere Bridge, homes evacuated
Firefighters from across Auckland are attempting to control a large blaze on Coronation Rd in Māngere Bridge.
Five structures have been completely destroyed and multiple houses have been evacuated.
Emergency services were first called just before 3am to the blaze, which is close to the BP and church opposite Black Bridge Reserve.
Several road blocks were in place manned by fire and police, with a stretch of Coronation Rd closed between Walmsley Rd and the Coronation Rd off-ramp to State Highway 20.
Fire and Emergency northern shift manager Gareth Lewis said multiple calls had come in from 2.58am about a house fire in the suburb.
“On arrival, we found multiple houses well involved in fire,” he said.
Just after 5am the blaze was at a third alarm, with 14 fire trucks in attendance including three ladder trucks and three specialist appliances.
Employment Relations Authority asked to step in over senior doctor pay dispute
Te Whatu Ora is asking the Employment Relations Authority to step in and help resolve its pay dispute with senior doctors and dentists.
More than 5000 members of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS) are set to walk of the job for the third time on Thursday after last ditch talks on Tuesday ended in an impasse.
Te Whatu Ora chief executive Margie Apa said the agency had urged the union to join it in applying to the ERA for facilitated bargaining.
“We are disappointed that ASMS did not join us in this initiative but remain committed to doing all we can to resolve this dispute.
“We continue to urge the union executive to formally present the current offer to their membership.”
The union said there had been no movement from Te Whatu Ora on its salary claim since it previously took the offer to members.
Its spokesperson said the offer on the table failed to even match inflation, and amounted to a pay cut for senior doctors and dentists for the third year in a row.
‘Hospitals are currently short more than 1700 senior doctors and specialists (about 20-25 percent) with that work being performed by the current staff.
“This is contributing to burnout and exasperating doctors wanting to leave the public system for private practice or overseas.
“Increasing the salary levels to not have them effectively go backwards will assist in the recruitment and retention of senior medical specialists.”
Te Whatu Ora said its teams were still determining the impact of the strike, but it was likely up to 250 operations, procedures and specialist appointments would be deferred.
Meanwhile, senior doctors and dentists from Auckland hospitals are using their four-hour strike on Thursday to fundraise for Lifeline.
Staff from Auckland, Starship, Waitākere, North Shore, Greenlane and Middlemore hospitals along with community mental health will gather at Pukekawa / Auckland Domain at 11am.
The union will also make a donation to Lifeline in recognition of Mental Health Awareness Week.
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