FIJI NEWS

Court asked to be lenient

ANA SOVARAKI Suva Suva lawyer Filimoni Vosarogo has asked the High Court in Suva to exercise leniency in sentencing Kalivati Bakani. Bakani, the former general manager of the itaukei Land
09 Aug 2014 09:20

ANA SOVARAKI
Suva
Suva lawyer Filimoni Vosarogo has asked the High Court in Suva to exercise leniency in sentencing Kalivati Bakani.
Bakani, the former general manager of the itaukei Land Trust Board (TLTB), had pleaded guilty to five counts of abuse of office before Justice Janaka Bandara on June 23.
Bakani’s charges relate to the alleged abuse of extinct mataqali funds, trust funds and Government grants. He was charged with former TLTB board member Keni Dakuidreketi.
Vosarogo yesterday made mitigation submissions for Bakani where he asked the court to consider the following:
q That an element of guilty plea shows remorse and repentance by the defendant;
q The defendant’s age (63 years);
q The defendant’s medical conditions;
q That Bakani is a first-offender;
q The likelihood of his client never finding employment in the formal sector;
q The shame and stigma brought upon his client;
q The suffering to his family because of his loss of employment;
q That there was no element of gain;
q That the defendant adhered to bail conditions.
Vosarogo also called the three character witnesses to testify on behalf of Bakani.
Character witnesses were the former Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Works, Anasa Vocea, Kadavu Holdings Limited executive director Ilaitia Caginavanua, and South Pacific Bible Society general secretary Solomone Duru.
All three witnesses, who knew Bakani through their school days at Queen Victoria School (QVS) and the University of the South Pacific (USP), said the offences Bakani was charged with were totally out of his character.
All three witnesses asked the court to be lenient on Bakani. Mr Vocea said that his former high school friend was a humble and polite person. “He is a person of integrity and honesty and a faithful husband and a father to his wife and five children,” Mr Vocea said. Meanwhile, Mr Caginavanua said he knew Bakani well from his school days.
He also said that he was part of the TLTB’s senior management team when Bakani was appointed general manager in 2002.
“Mr Bakani comes from a very good family; one quality that I find in him that was of value to me and my working life was that he sets high moral standards,” Mr Caginavanua said. Mr Duru, who was bakani’s flatmate during their time at USP, said the defendant was a reliable person.
“As a result of good upbringing he is very caring to those around him and a trustworthy person,” Mr Duru said.
The matter would be called again next Tuesday.
Co-accused Dakuidreketi would also produce his character witnesses on the same date.
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