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Ex-Town Administrator And Acting CEO Jailed

Two former senior officials of the Nadi Town Council were both jailed for nine months each by the High Court in Lautoka yesterday over the writing off of $86,792.94 in
07 Dec 2018 11:19
Ex-Town Administrator And Acting CEO Jailed

Two former senior officials of the Nadi Town Council were both jailed for nine months each by the High Court in Lautoka yesterday over the writing off of $86,792.94 in rates, including interest.

Aisea Tuidraki, 59, the former Special Administrator and Sakaria Serau, 49, the former acting Chief Executive Officer were charged with abuse of office relating to the offences committed in 2009.

A third accused, Suresh Chand, 61, the former Senior Rates Clerk, was given a six- month sentence for four counts of abuse of office by Justice Paul Madigan to be served concurrently, but this was suspended for two years.

Chand had pleaded guilty to four counts of abuse of office where he wrote off rates and interest amounting to $1593.22 in 2009 and 2010 and

Tuidraki and Serau had written off the said amount between December 8, 2009, and December 17, 2009, and interest payable for Prayjay Investments Limited without the approval of the Minister for Local Government.

Chand had written off rates of two amounts of $370.91 owed by Maharaj Investment Limited, $296.62 owed by Jyoti Sajita and $500.78 owed by Sant Raj and Urmila Devi.

For Tuidraki and Serau, Justice Madigan said both had clean records.

Tuidraki was retired and did casual taxi driving for income while Serau was unemployed and both were faithful social workers.

“The acts of all three accused in this case were seemingly done ‘on a whim’ which, of course, is the arbitrary act element of the offence,” Justice Madigan said.

He said there was no evidence that any of the three benefited financially or personally.

He said Tuidraki and Serau acted in defiance of the law by not being responsible when administering the funds of the council.

“Therein lies the nub of their offending – arbitrarily acting unfairly to the detriment of all other ratepayers who may have been in a similar position to the favoured towns- men,” Justice Madigan said.

He added that the expectations of the public that those in authority should act fairly in their interest according to the law.

Chand gave evidence for the prosecution under immunity from prosecution for the charges faced by Tuidraki and Serau, which Justice Madigan said was helpful.

Chand had maintained he was following orders.
Edited by Epineri Vula

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