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Tui Namosi Sentencing On Monday

Mr Chaudhry testified that he was in close relations with Matanitobua since 1999 through the Opposition chambers as a media and research officer, family friend, and footballer.
09 Aug 2022 09:39
Tui Namosi Sentencing On Monday
Opposition MP Ratu Suliano Matanitobua outside the Suva High Court on August 8, 2022. Photo: Leon Lord

Deterrence takes precedence over anything. The Court has a responsibility to pass a message that the Court will not condone any corruption-related activities.

These comments were made by the Fiji Independent Commission against Corruption (FICAC), Commissioner Rashmi Aslam during the sentencing and mitigation hearing of Tui Namosi and former SODELPA Member of Parliament, Ratu Suliano Matanitobua. Mr Aslam said the offender must be sentenced just like any other citizen.

Defence lawyer Filimoni Vosarogo called two character witnesses. The first character witness was Biman Chaudhry.

 

Mr Chaudhry testified that he was in close relations with Matanitobua since 1999 through the Opposition chambers as a media and research officer, family friend, and footballer.

He described Matanitobua as an older brother, caring friend, and a uniting force in their area of Navua/Namosi.

He said Matanitobua was a person with a high degree of commitment and a person of trust.

During cross-examination, Mr Aslam questioned the witness about whether he was affiliated with any political parties.

Mr Chaudhry said he was a national vice-president of the National Federation Party and had an association with the Fiji Labour Party from 1998 to 2004 and SODELPA from 2016 to 2020.

Mr Aslam asked the witness whether the monies obtained by Matanitobua were public money.

 

Mr Chaudhry said yes. Mr Aslam asked the witness whether as a politician he would condone it or condemn the act.

Mr Chaudhry said he would condemn it. The second character witness was Ratu Ifereimi Buaserau Ratu Ifereimi said during COVID-19 when the whole of Namosi and Navua refused to get vaccinated, went around to all the villages and encouraged them to get the vaccines.

In cross-examination, Mr Aslam asked the witness if he had obtained permission from the vanua to speak on behalf of the vanua in court.

Ratu Ifereimi said he did obtain the permission after the last mentioned date. Mr Vosarogo also submitted Namosi Provincial Council’s letter to the Court that was read in court stating the Council supported Matanitobua.

Mr Aslam said the good character evidence and witnesses lacked objectivity.

He said the witnesses were Matanitobua’s close followers and as their chief, they were loyal to him regardless of the seriousness of the charges.

He said Matanitobua had reached his potential in terms of his career and life and had nothing more he could be rather than the high chief.

 

Feedback: ashna.kumar@fijisun.com.fj



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