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Padarath, Lawyer Found Guilty

Padarath, Lawyer Found Guilty
July 25
12:30 2018

A Suva man and a lawyer charged with forgery have been found guilty by Chief Magistrate Usaia Ratuvili.

Benjamin Padarath and Aseri Vakaloloma appeared before Chief Magistrate Ratuvili yesterday charged by the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) with one count each of Forgery in 2011.

Padarath had forged documents and removed the name of his father Adishwar Padarath as a director in their company and replaced it with the name of Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama.

The forged document was found in Padarath’s house.

During the trial which was held between August 7 and August 18, 2017, FICAC called three witnesses and submitted a statement by Mr Bainimarama, a record of the caution interviews for Vakaloloma and Padarath and other exhibits in court.

The State was represented by FICAC lawyer Rashmi Aslam, Vakaloloma was represented by Filimoni Vosarogo and Padarath was represented by Barbara Malimali.

While delivering the judgment, Magistrate Ratuvili said that the State had successfully proved the charges against Vakaloloma and Padarath.

Magistrate Ratuvili said the findings of the case had established that Vakaloloma, on the instructions of Padarath, prepared a false document, which was a change of directors that was not authorised, nor signed by Mr Bainimarama.

He said that there was intent to defraud because the evidence indicated that the document would eventually be registered with the Registrar of Companies with Padarath providing the other documents required for registration and to be used as genuine.

Mr Vosarogo informed the court that two character witnesses would appear as part of their mitigation for Vakaloloma.

Ms Malimali said a written mitigation would be given for Padarath.

Mr Aslam told the court that the State would file a written sentencing submission.

Bail was extended for Vakaloloma and Padarath and the matter was adjourned to July 31 for mitigation and sentencing submissions. Edited by Epineri Vula

Feedback:  ashna.kumar@fijisun.com.fj

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