NATION

Witness Explains Cash Cheques, Resignation

An accomplice witness has told the court he resigned from his former employer after he received threats from the director of TF Jan Bulldozing Company. Azim Ali told the court
21 May 2015 10:20
Witness Explains Cash Cheques, Resignation
Aisea Liwaiono outside court

An accomplice witness has told the court he resigned from his former employer after he received threats from the director of TF Jan Bulldozing Company.

Azim Ali told the court that although he knew information contained in a declaration form were incorrect, Mr Ali said he signed it anyway because he feared for his life and his family.

When the company director, Firoz Jan Mohammed (first accused), queried Mr Ali about his interview with FICAC, Mr Ali told the court that was when Mohammed threatened him that if anything happened to him he would do something to Mr Ali.

Mr Ali, on Day 13 of the $3.1 million road scam trial was granted immunity by the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) to testify against his former employer, TF Jan Bulldozing Company, in the High Court in Suva yesterday.

In his evidence he informed the court that he was an accounts officer who had custody of the cheque book and used to write cheques upon instructions from his boss, Firoz Jan Mohammed (first accused).

FICAC lawyer Rashmi Aslam took Mr Ali through 15 cash cheques dated between March 2, 2012 and June 21, 2012. He also took him through the telegraphic money orders (TMO) of the same period.

Mr Ali agreed raising the cheques and cashing them from Bank of Baroda, Ba Branch and also sending the TMO’s.

Mr Ali told the court that he raised the cheques upon instructions by his boss Mohammed.

He said after he cashed the cheques he took it to Post Office and upon instructions by Mohammed sent it through TMO to Iliesa Turagacati (second accused) in Suva.

Some TMO’s carried a Mosese Muawalu’s name in the sender’s column while some carried a Kaliova Qio’s name in the sender’s column.

Mr Ali said these names were given to him by Mohammed to write on money order and send it to Turagacati.

Mr Ali said that between March 2 and June 26, 2012, he sent around $27,000 to Turagacati via T.M.O.

Mr Aslam asked Mr Ali if he queried with his boss about the cash cheques and TMO’s.

Mr Ali said he enquired with Mohammed and was informed that it was for royalty payments to Turagacati.

Some more cash cheques between May 11 to July 20, 2012 were shown to Mr Ali and they totalled close to $70,000, which Mr Ali agreed raising them.

Mr Ali said upon instructions from Mohammed he took the cash cheques to Bank of Baroda, Ba Branch and instructed them to release cash to a Mohammed Ashif and a Vaseva Camakalagi in Suva upon presentation of proper identification card.

Mr Ali told the court that when he queried with Mohammed, he was instructed it was a for royalty payment to be paid to a third party. Mr Ali said he did not know who the third party was.

He was then taken through an internal memo from Mohammed to himself requesting for a statutory declaration about TMO senders Mauwalu and Qio.

Mr Ali said he was given a draft declaration by Mohammed which stated that Mauwalu and Qio gave consent to remit money orders to their nominee on their behalf.

Mr Ali said after typing he took it and got it signed by a Commissioner of Oath as a true declaration.

Mr Aslam asked whether the information contained in the declaration were true and if the Muawalu and Qio actually gave consent.

Mr Ali said it was not true but he got it signed as instructed and out of fear that he would lose his job.

Mr Aslam asked him about FICAC investigation to which Mr Ali said after his interview Mohammed queried him about the investigation questions.

He told the court that was when Mohammed threatened him that if anything happened to him (Mohammed) he would do something to him. Mr Ali said he was scared about his family and himself hence he resigned after a month or so.

Earlier an accounts officer of TF Jan Sarun Naicker clarified yesterday morning through financial statements ending December 31, 2010 and 2011 that the amounts owed to the bulldozing company by Department of National Roads were $31,000 and $6156 respectively.

Two bank affidavits and a land transport authority affidavit were also read out in court yesterday.

Trial continues this morning with cross examination of Mr Ali by Mohammed’s lawyer Ian Lloyd QC.

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 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 purpose.

It was alleged between February 27 and July 2012, Mohammed, offered payments amounting to $110,100 to Turagacati, who was an acting project accountant in DNR. For that same period Mohammed allegedly lodged false invoices and circumvented procedures to obtain an advantage of over $3million.

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

The fourth and fifth accused Liwaiono and Prasad whilst 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 Bulldozing Company 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. The five deny the charges.

Feedback:  farisha.ahmed@fijisun.com.fj

 




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