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Trial Starts For 2 Women Accused Of Money Laundering

Trial Starts For 2 Women Accused Of Money Laundering
Money Laundering
August 29
11:04 2018

State lawyer Jayneeta Prasad told three assessors yesterday that the Westpac Bank was given fraudulent documents for payment of altered salaries to two former staff of the Pacific Theological College (PTC).

Ms Prasad is currently prosecuting a case in the Suva High Court involving two women, Roshneen Praveena Raj and Rine Muanivai Sorby (also known as Lily Sorby) who are charged with three counts of money laundering. They both maintain a not guilty plea to the charges.

While presenting her opening address to the assessors Ms Prasad showed them examples of the altered banking documents, which was allegedly done by the two women.

She said the cheques were open cheques and could be cashed by anyone who presented it to the bank.

An example she showed the assessors was the payment of more than $6000 to the then Fiji Electricity Authority (FEA), which was altered to include a person’s name after the signatories had signed the cheque and before it was taken to the bank.

By altering the spelling of the payee name the two women allegedly obtained monies, which was owed to various organisations by the college and also given for contributions.

The first State witness to testify under oath yesterday said the two women were employed as finance officers and were responsible for preparing payments for financial matters regarding the college.

The principal of PTC, Dr Willie Fele Nokise, said at no point in time did he authorise the change in payee from FEA to the fraudulent name. He said after the director and himself signed the cheques it was sent back to their finance department for necessary payments to be made.

Both women are represented by the Legal Aid Commission and are on bail. Trial continues today before Justice Salesi Temo.

Charges:

On the first count of money laundering, it is alleged that between June 1, 2006, and February 16, 2011, Raj engaged directly or indirectly in transactions involving Westpac bank account number 71127300.

This was allegedly in relation to the payment of wages of staff of the Pacific Theological College, all to the total sum of $96,576.86, that were the proceeds of crime while knowing or ought to have reasonably known that the money was derived from unlawful activity.

On the second count, it is alleged that between June 1, 2006 and February 16, 2011 Sorby engaged directly or indirectly in transactions involving Westpac bank account number 71127300.

This was allegedly in relation to the payment of wages of staff of PTC, all to the total sum of $73,099.95 that were the proceeds of crime while knowing or ought to have reasonably known that the money was derived from some form of unlawful activity.

For the third count, it is alleged that between March 1, 2010, and November 30, 2012 both women engaged directly or indirectly in transactions involving Westpac bank account 71127300 allegedly in relation to PTC cheques payable to various corporate bodies to the total sum of $412,567.61 that were the proceeds of crime knowing or ought to have reasonably known that the money was derived from some form of unlawful activity.

Edited by Naisa Koroi

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