SUNCITY

Mau, Absent Patel, Pratap Convicted

Mahendra Motibhai Patel, Tevita Peni Mau and Dhirendra Pratap were yesterday found guilty by the Suva High Court (See charges in facts of the case). The three are former executives
21 Nov 2014 08:56
Mau, Absent Patel, Pratap Convicted
GUILTY... Dhirendra Pratap and GUILTY.... Peni Mau. Photo: Rama Photo: Rama

Mahendra Motibhai Patel, Tevita Peni Mau and Dhirendra Pratap were yesterday found guilty by the Suva High Court (See charges in facts of the case).

The three are former executives of Post Fiji Limited.

They were charged by the Fiji Independent Commission against Corruption.

Patel (former chairman) on June 29, 2006, employed in the public service as the chairman of board of directors for Post Fiji Limited, in abuse of that office, did an arbitrary act where he extended the former managing director, Mau’s contract for a further term of three years without proper board approval, the court heard.

Patel was being tried in absentia throughout the trial which lasted for two weeks.

He is believed to be in Sydney, Australia, and has not returned to face the court.

Justice Kumararatnam in his judgment said Patel, in his role, said he extended Mau’s contract through mutual agreement as per Mau’s initial contract.

Mau’s initial contract which was to expire in 2007 was renewed in 2006 for a further term of three years.

This was said to have been done because the initial contract which was approved by the board gave Mau renewal rights.

However Justice Kumararatnam said according to prosecution, nowhere in the contract was it stated that the contract was to be renewed by the chairman only.

He said according to the witnesses Patel had no absolute power to extend the contract without a collective agreement from the board.

Justice Kumraratnam said considering the wordings in Mau’s letter, Mau did request for something from the board and that the chairman had assured him that it was being looked at.

The judge said according to witnesses, no retirement package was discussed in the board meeting nor a resolution was passed that  two years four months’ salary and $24,000 gratuity pay would be given to Mau as claimed by Pratap.

The total payment of $122,481.39 was calculated by Pratap and given to Mau.

This included $24,000 gratuity and FNPF deductions.

Justice Kumararatnam said Pratap gave a letter to the internal auditors knowing that the letter was unofficial.

He said the evidence by the prosecution was overwhelming and it was proven beyond reasonable doubt.

Sentence hearing is scheduled for today.

Pratap would be presenting character witnesses while Patel and Mau’s lawyers are ready to file mitigating submission.

Facts Of The Case

– Accused: Mahendra Motibhai Patel (abuse of office), Tevita Peni Mau (extortion), Dhirendra Pratap (false information to public officer).

– Presiding Judge:Justice Prabaharan Kumararatnam

– FICAC lawyer:       Rashmi Aslam

– Patel’s lawyer: Hemendra Nagin

– Mau’s lawyer:Barbara Malimali

– Pratap: Representing himself

Feedback:  farisha.ahmed@fijisun.com.fj

 




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