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Rabuka to Engage Queen’s Counsel

Rabuka to Engage Queen’s Counsel
SODELPA leader Sitiveni Rabuka outside Court in Suva on July 27, 2018. Photo: Ronald Kumar.
July 28
11:00 2018

SODELPA leader Sitiveni Rabuka’s lawyer, Filimoni Vosarogo, told the court yesterday that they would engage a Queen’s Counsel in their case.

The Queen’s Counsel is expected to appear in the next court sitting. Rabuka appeared before Magistrate Jioji Bo­seiwaqa at the Suva Magistrates Court.

Mr Vosarogo told the court that the Queen’s Counsel would continue the case from where the defence had left off. He asked the court for 14 days to finalise the terms of engagement and necessary documents to be submitted to the Queen’s Counsel.

Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption law­yer, Rashmi Aslam did not object to the defence’s request.

However, Mr Aslam told the court that they wanted Rabu­ka’s case to be dealt with simultaneously.

He suggested that the hearing on the voir dire and the substantive file to be done together with short breaks.

But Mr Vosarogo said they rather hear the substantive file first. He said the formulation of the first charge where­by three specific transactions were put into one charge would each have different justifications.

In reply, Mr Aslam said that it was to avoid duplicity.

He went on to say that if the defence thought it would in­terfere with the process of a fair trial, then the prosecu­tion would consider separating the charges.

For Rabuka’s second case, Mr Aslam said they would make reservations on putting the matter aside to focus on the first charge as there were two separate cases.

He said lesser time was needed for a hearing because the two cases could be heard simultaneously.

Mr Vosarogo then explained that a hearing of the sub­stantive file should be first because if the charge was not able to be proven by the prosecution, then there would be no case to answer for the second charge.

Magistrate Boseiwaqa extended bail for Rabuka and ad­journed the matter to August 13.

The charges

On the first charge, in 2017 Rabuka is alleged to have pro­vided a false declaration of assets and liabilities to the Supervisor of Elections by failing to provide information pertaining to the tax liability with the Fiji Revenue and Customs Services (FRCS), which amounted to $316,956.20.

He also failed to declare the Investment and interest in­come with Ragwhan Constructions Limited in the amount of $200,000 and $16,000 respectively and also the liability in the amount of $120,000.

On the second charge, Rabuka is alleged to have ap­proached and interfered with a witness connected with his first charge, which was a condition imposed by the court while granting him bail initially.

Edited by Caroline Ratucadra

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