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FICAC Takes Vasu, Bhikha, Kunatuba To Court For Abuse

FICAC Takes Vasu, Bhikha, Kunatuba To Court For Abuse
Lieutenant-Colonel Ifereimi Vasu (right) and Dhansukh Lal Bhikha (left), and Peniasi Kunatuba outside the Suva Magistrates Court yesterday. Photo: Rama.
December 11
11:13 2015

Superintendent Kameli Ratuvakalevulevu says he is ready to lead the Fiji Corrections Service.

He was yesterday appointed acting Commissioner to replace Lieutenant-Colonel Ifereimi Vasu. (See page 2: Who is Ratuvakalevulevu)

The leadership change came  after Lieutenant-Colonel Vasu, Fiji Corrections Service director corporate services Peniasi Kunatuba and former businessman Dhansukh Lal Bhikha appeared at the Suva Magistrates Court on Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) abuse-related charges. Magistrate Margaret Mua granted them bail after they appeared yesterday.

The charges  all relate to the Naboro Mart being operated at the Naboro Corrections Centre. Vasu and Kunatuba are charged with one count each of abuse of office. Bhikha is charged with one count of aiding and abetting abuse of office and one count of obtaining a financial advantage.

FICAC lawyer Rashmi Aslam confirmed the first set of disclosures had been served and did not object to their bail applications. Mr Aslam, however, requested for each accused to present two sureties.

Vasu was represented by defence counsel Donna Fong, Kunatuba by Vani Ravono and Bhikha by Ritesh Singh. Vasu and Bhikha surrendered their passports to the court.

The three were granted bail with a bail bond each of $3000. They were required to give two sureties each.

Magistrate Mua ordered that Vasu report to the Central Police Station in Suva, Kunatuba to the Nabua Police Station and Bhikha to the Raiwaqa Police Station on the last Saturday of every month between 8am and 5pm.

Magistrate Mua also ordered the three not to offend and interfere with prosecution witnesses during their bail term and that their travel documents were to be surrendered to the court by 10am today.

They were also requested not to change their residential address submitted to the court without the court’s knowledge.

Meanwhile, Ms Fong asked the court that the three accused take their pleas after all disclosures were served.

Magistrate Mua adjourned the case to February 10 next year for pleas to be taken.

 

Particulars of the Offence

Ifereimi Vasu

Charge: Abuse of Office

It is alleged that between July 11, 2013 and December 27, 2014 in Suva, Vasu, while being employed as the Commissioner of Fiji Corrections Service and as a director of Naboro Mart Limited, in abuse of the authority of his office, did arbitrary acts for the purpose of gain, namely facilitating and approving the purchasing of goods to the amount of $131,683.33 from the Naboro Mart Limited contrary to the Procurement Regulations 2010 of the Financial Management Act 2004 and the Finance Manual of the Fiji Corrections Service, which were acts prejudicial to the rights of the Fiji Government, Fiji Corrections Service and the Approved Government contractors.

Peniasi Kunatuba

Charge: Abuse of Office

It is alleged that between January 31, 2013 and March 7, 2014 in Suva, Kunatuba while being employed as the Director Corporate Service and acting deputy commissioner of the Fiji Corrections Service, in abuse of the authority of his office, did arbitrary acts for the purpose of gain, namely facilitating and approving the purchasing of goods to the amount of $54,734.65 from the Naboro Mart Limited contrary to the Procurement Regulations 2010 of the Financial Management Act 2004 and the Finance Manual of the Fiji Corrections Service, which were acts prejudicial to the rights of the Fiji Government, Fiji Corrections Service and the Approved Government contractors.

Dhansukh Lal Bhikha

Aiding and Abetting Abuse of Office

It is alleged that between July 11 2013 and December 27 last year in Suva, Bhikha, while being employed as the Manager of the Naboro Mart Limited did aid and abet, counsel and procure another person namely Ifereimi Vasu, the Commissioner of the Fiji Corrections Service, in the commission of the offence of Abuse of Authority of Office by said Ifereimi Vasu.

– Obtaining a Financial Advantage

It is alleged between January 31, 2013 and December 27, 2014 in Suva, Bhikha, while being the Manager of Naboro Mart Limited, engaged in a conduct namely supplying goods to the Fiji Corrections Service despite not being approved supplier or a Standing Offer Contractor to the whole of Government of Fiji and as a result of that conduct, obtained a financial advantage amounting to $186,417.98 for Naboro Mart Limited from the Fiji Corrections Service, knowing that the said Naboro Mart Limited was not eligible to receive the said financial advantage.

 

Feedback: aqela.susu@fijisun.com.fj

 

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