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Businessman jailed in PWD scam



A businessman and owner of Professional Stationery Services, Shalendra Kumar has been sentenced to seven years imprisonment after he was found guilty for his involvement in the former Public Works Department (PWD) scam, where he colluded with other PWD staff and obtained more than $34,000.

Shalendra Kumar was convicted and sentenced for the offence of obtaining a financial advantage and for attempting to pervert the course of justice after being charged by FICAC.

FICAC says for the second offence of attempting to pervert the course of justice, Kumar had created false company delivery dockets and back dated them in an attempt that they could be used as evidence to exonerate him.

Kumar created these dockets while the criminal case against him was still pending in court.

His non-parole period of 5 years.

This is the second case successfully prosecuted by FICAC against those involved in the PWD scam.

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Breaking News

Bainimarama and Qiliho found guilty after appeal



Former Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and suspended Commissioner of Police Sitiveni Qiliho have been found guilty by the Suva High Court.

The Office of the Director of Public Prosecution had appealed the matter following the acquittal of the two by the Suva Magistrates Court.

Bainimarama was charged with one count of attempting to pervert the course of justice, while Qiliho was charged with one count of abuse of office.

Bainimarama had directed the suspended Police Commissioner to stop an investigation into a police complaint on a University of the South Pacific matter sometime in July, 2020.

Magistrate Seini Puamau acquitted them in October last year.

This morning, the two were found guilty, and the matter has been remitted back to the Magistrates Court.

Acting Chief Justice Salesi Temo says he accepts all the evidence of the state witnesses as he finds them credible.

He says it was apparent that as in the first responders case that the problem emanated from the allege financial abuse and mismanagement by the senior members of USP.

Justice Temo says he upholds the state grounds of appeals one, two, six, seven, and eight; however, he deems grounds three, four, and five unnecessary and a waste of the court’s time.

The Acting Chief Justice ordered that the matter be called before Magistrate  Puamau on the 18th of this month, where she will have to pronounce Bainimarama and Qiliho guilty as charged and convict them accordingly.

Justice Temo directed the accused lawyers to file mitigation and sentencing submissions for both responders by Monday.

The state will have to do the same.

He adds that Magistrate Puamau will have to hear the sentencing submissions next Thursday.

Justice Temo adds that the Resident Magistrate will have to pass the sentences for Bainimarama and Qiliho on the 28th of this month.

More to follow.


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Fiji News

Lynda Tabuya removed as People’s Alliance Deputy Leader Scandal brought likely irreparable damage and disrepute to the party – PAP



Deputy Leader of the People’s Alliance, Lynda Tabuya has been removed from the position effective immediately after the party’s Executive Council meeting.

The party’s Executive Council says this resolution was reached in the best interest of the party.

It says the council thoroughly discussed and considered the recommendation of the People’s Alliance Management Committee in relation to the alleged sex and drug scandal involving Lynda Tabuya while on an official trip to the Parliament of Victoria in Melbourne last year, from the 21st to the 23rd of August 2023.

The People’s Alliance Executive Council says it particularly considered the severe and likely irreparable damage and disrepute that the scandal and the allegations surrounding it had brought to the party’s image and reputation.

Tabuya was informed last night via the appropriate official party communication of the Executive Council’s resolution.

fijivillage News is currently trying to speak to Tabuya.

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Fiji News

Fiji’s decision to support Israel’s occupation of Palestine ‘disturbing’ – Bainimarama



Former Fiji prime minister Frank Bainimarama says the country’s intervention at the International Court of Justice on the Israel-Gaza issue betrays Fiji’s legacy as peacekeepers.

Paul Reichler, an attorney representing Palestin at the ICJ revealed this week that Fiji and the United States – the only nations – to defend Israel’s occupation of Palestine.

Bainimarama said Fiji’s stance “insults the intelligence of every Fijian”.

The former prime minister and military commander said that position undoes Fiji’s long-standing commitment to neutrality, peacekeeping, and the principles of self-determination and decolonization.

“The coalition government’s claim that the occupation of foreign territory by Israel is legal – an argument not even advanced by Israel itself – reveals a disturbing truth that Fiji’s voice to the world is hostage to a demented few who are hellbent on destroying our national reputation,” he said in a statement on Wednesday.

“This action contradicts our firm stance on the rights to independence and statehood, rights we have championed for our Pacific brothers and for all colonial peoples.

He said Fiji has stood with Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Kiribati, and others in their pursuit of independence.

“e must ask ourselves: with what credibility will we support the independence of territories like New Caledonia and French Polynesia? We must not be selective in our support for statehood and independence.

“Our actions today will define our legacy and our ability to lead in the Pacific and beyond.

“The world should know that the vast majority of Fijians stand on the side of peace. That is our national character and that is the spirit in which we offer our service on the frontlines of conflict zones around the world.”

‘Profoundly troubling’ – human rights coalition

Fiji’s human rights coalition has condemned the Fiji government’s decision at the ICJ.

The group said the country’s “position is profoundly troubling and starkly contrasts the values of justice, freedom, and international law that the Fijian people hold dear”.

“The public has a right to understand how such positions, which significantly impact Fiji’s standing on the global stage and its moral compass, are determined.

“We call upon the government to disclose the rationale and any consultations or analysis that led to this stance,” they added.

The coalition said it wants the Fiji government “to reconsider its position”.

“We urge the Fijian government to demonstrate its commitment to human rights and justice by advocating for the rights of all people, including the Palestinian people, to live in peace, security, and dignity.”

Source: RNZ

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