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High Court To Deliver Judgment In Bribery Appeal Casea

High Court To Deliver Judgment In Bribery Appeal Casea
May 31
11:00 2018

Suva High Court judge Justice Thush­ara Rajasinghe will deliver his judg­ment on a bribery appeal case involv­ing a Police Constable on June 22, 2018.

The respondent Sanita Laqenisiga ap­peared before Justice Rajasinghe yesterday for hearing of the appeal filed by the Fiji Independent Commission against Corrup­tion challenging his acquittal in the Magis­trate’s Court on October 31, 2017.

FICAC appealed Laqenisiga’s acquittal on seven grounds. He was charged with one count of bribery.

It claimed on or about February 15, 2014 while employed as a Constable of the Fiji Police Force without lawful authority or reasonable excuse:

He allegedly solicited an advantage of $100 from Avinesh Kumar on account of abstain­ing from performing an act in his capacity as a public servant namely by not interfer­ing with the affairs of the said Avinesh Ku­mar.

FICAC alleged that Laqenisiga demanded $100 from Mr Kumar to ensure that the Po­lice officers investigating the case would not harass him.

Having informed FICAC officers of the same Mr Kumar met Laqenisiga outside the Toorak Mosque and gave him $100.

Laqenisiga was arrested shortly after from his home and the two marked $50 notes giv­en to him by Mr Kumar were found on him.

The defence case was that Laqenisiga re­quested for a loan from Mr Kumar as he desperately wanted money to be sent to his children in Ba.

FICAC lawyer Rashmi Aslam said the learned Magistrate did not give a compre­hensive judgment.

He said the accused had stated that at the material time he was not part of the inves­tigations against Mr Kumar because he had been suspended following disciplinary ac­tion.

Mr Aslam said the learned Magistrate did not consider that even though the accused was on suspension he was still assisting Po­lice with investigations.

Mr Aslam said the Magistrate erred by not following the essential test stated in the case laws which were advanced by FICAC.

He said from the judgment it seemed that the Magistrate had indirectly disputed that the loan given to Laqenisiga by Mr Sharma did not constitute an advantage.

He said by the exchange of money the com­plainant was trying to keep a “sweet rela­tionship” with Constable Laqenisiga.

Mr Aslam said “keeping a sweet situation is a form of bribery” when it came to a pub­lic servant doing their job.

Laqenisiga is represented by Legal Aid Commission lawyer Lice Manulevu.

Edited by Percy Kean

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