NEWS

Jail Time For Trio

Justice Prabaharan Kumararatnam  yesterday imposed jail sentences on three former Post Fiji Limited executives. He said they had breached the trust placed in them to act in the best interest
25 Nov 2014 09:22
Jail Time For Trio
Former Post Fiji managing director Peni Mau (left), with former general manager finance Dhirendra Pratap at the High Court in Suva yesterday. Photo: Rama

Justice Prabaharan Kumararatnam  yesterday imposed jail sentences on three former Post Fiji Limited executives.

He said they had breached the trust placed in them to act in the best interest of the company.

He made the remarks while sentencing Mahendra Motibhai Patel (former chairman), Tevita Peni Mau (former managing director) and Dhirendra Pratap (former general manager finance) at the High Court in Suva.

Patel got 12 months imprisonment for abuse of office; Mau received nine months for extortion while Pratap was given six months for providing false information to a public officer.

Justice Kumararatnam said the sentences were custodial as suspended sentences were not appropriate in this corruption case.

The trio had been charged by Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption and were found guilty by the court last Friday. They had pleaded not guilty.

Justice Kumararatnam said during the trial it was revealed that Patel had surreptitiously extended Mau’s contract in 2006 instead of 2007.

The judge said Patel had kept the information secret and had not disclosed this in any of the board meetings in 2006.

He said due to the despotic act of the chairman, Mau received two years and four months compensation along with gratuity which he was not entitled to.

He said Mau when taking early exit from the company had written asking for any consideration. He said the wording suggested that he did ask for something from the company and that Patel had written back assuring him of payment.

He said Pratap knew that he was providing an unofficial document to the investigating officer when there was no resolution passed by the board to pay Mau for two years and four months balance of contract payment and a $24,000 gratuity.

Justice Kumararatnam said Patel, who was tried in absentia, would serve his sentence upon arrest.

The 74-year-old has claimed an eye condition which needs constant medical treatment which is only available in Sydney.

FICAC lawyer Rashmi Aslam submitted that Patel’s security bond be confiscated as he had been granted bail in 2012. The Judge would make bail inquiry on the matter tomorrow as Patel’s lawyer Hemendra Nagin was not present in court yesterday.

farisha.ahmed@fijisun.com.fj

 



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