SUNCITY

Claims Procedures Not Followed: Witness

A former compliance officer at the then Department of National Roads informed the High Court in Suva yesterday that correct procedures were not followed for backdated claims. It was the
15 May 2015 08:28
Claims Procedures Not Followed: Witness
Kitione Salele and Accused Firoz Jan Mohammeon their way to court. Photo: Paulini Ratulailai

A former compliance officer at the then Department of National Roads informed the High Court in Suva yesterday that correct procedures were not followed for backdated claims.

It was the latest testimony in the $3.1 million scam case.

Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) witness Kitione Salele explained to the court that his task as a compliance officer was to check the claims, invoices and statements.

He said he also liaised with site agents and engineers to verify works before endorsing it with a compliance stamp and signature.

Mr Salele said he was one of three people allowed to sign on the claims. The others were the site engineer, and site supervisor.

Along with the signatures, an inspection stamp to qualify it as a valid claim was needed before it was sent to the project accountant in Suva.

He was asked if there were any backdated invoices from T.F Jan Bulldozing Company and if so, whether proper procedures were followed. Mr Salele said the Divisional Engineer Western would ask him to check the claims and verify. He said if the claims were valid and matched reports in his register and were not claimed before then he would ask the company to justify in writing the reason for backdating these claims.

Queens Counsel for first-accused Firoz Jan Mohammed, Ian Lloyd, asked if the verification procedure was written down anywhere in the contract and Mr Salele said no. However, he clarified in re-examination by Mr Aslam that he was instructed to follow that procedure by his senior, the divisional engineer western.

Mr Aslam asked if there were any summary or explanations from the company as to why they were claiming backdated amounts. Mr Salele said no  explanation was given.

The trial continues this morning.

 

Charges

Businessman Firoz Jan Mohammed and former civil servants Iliesa Turagacati and Navitalai Tamanitoakula were charged with bribery, obtaining a financial advantage and abuse of office, while the other two Aisea Liwaiono have been charged with two counts of causing loss and Vijay Prasad was charged with one count of causing loss.

Mohammed is also charged with a count of perverting the course of justice by submitting false documents for investigation purposes.

It was alleged between February 27 and July 2012, Mohammed, a director of T.F Jan Bulldozing Company Ltd, offered payments amounting to $110,100 to Turagacati, who was a public servant employed as an acting project accountant in the then Department of National Roads.

It was also alleged in that same period; Mohammed allegedly lodged false invoices and circumvented procedures to obtain an advantage of more than $3 million.

Tamanitoakula, who was the senior accounts officer of DNR, was also alleged to have abused the authority of his office, did an arbitrary act in processing payments amounting to $2.468 million to TF Jan Bulldozing without following proper procedures.

The fourth and fifth-accused Liwaiono and Prasad, while being employed with FRA, allegedly dishonestly caused a risk of loss to FRA by falsely verifying the statement of invoice dated December 31, 2010 amounting to $95,773.52 and supporting documents for T.F.Jan Bulldozing Company Limited allegedly knowing that there was a substantial risk of loss to FRA.

During the same time, it was alleged that Liwaiono dishonestly caused a risk of loss to FRA by falsely verifying the statements of invoice respectively dated December 31, 2010, April 4, 2012 and April 16, 2012 amounting to a total sum of $315, 417.60 and supporting documents of T.F.Jan Bulldozing Company Limited.

Feedback:  farisha.ahmed@fijisun.com.fj

 




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