NATION

Scam Trial Back On Next Wednesday

The $3.1million road scam trial involving a businessman and four former employees of the then Department of National Roads will resume next Wednesday. The Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption lawyer
23 May 2015 10:00
Scam Trial Back On Next Wednesday
Scam trial accused, from left, Firoz Jan Mohammed, Iliesa Turagacati and Vijay Prasad.

The $3.1million road scam trial involving a businessman and four former employees of the then Department of National Roads will resume next Wednesday.

The Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption lawyer Rashmi Aslam informed court that one of the prosecution witnesses, Mohammed Ashif, was abroad.

Mr Aslam said the witness was due to arrive in the country by the weekend.

He said they wished to start their case by calling him first before calling their FICAC investigators as witnesses in the scam trial.

The trial involves director of T.F Jan Bulldozing Company Firoz Jan Mohammed and four former civil servants.

Mr Ashif’s name came about when cash cheques were raised and submitted to the Bank of Baroda to release cash to him upon proper identification.

Prosecution claims that this cash was collected for a third party whom they wish to identify during their questioning of the witness.

This was not objected to by any of the five defence lawyers.

Prosecution has about four or five witnesses to call before closing their side of the case.

Judge Justice Paul Madigan instructed defence lawyers to advise their clients on the procedures and their rights. He said he would be ruling at the end of prosecution case if there was any case to answer by the defence side.

So far prosecution has called several witnesses including former and current employees of the bulldozing company as well as the Department of National Roads. Witnesses have informed the court of the day works were carried out on various roads on Nausori Highlands as contracted to T.F Jan Bulldozing.

Prosecution produced day works claim which were claimed in 2012 for 2010. FICAC has also called four accomplice witnesses who were given immunity to testify in court.

Defence cross-examined them and some were accused of lying in court. Cheques and letters were also tendered in court and accounting experts were also called to give evidence. Witnesses have claimed their signatures were forged into obtaining claims while some said they had different signatures.

There have been witnesses who identified the accused in the case while some have never met any of them yet their names were used in the money orders sent.

The first-accused and director of T.FJan Bulldozing, 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 $3 million.

Tamanitoakula, a 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 T.F Jan 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 TF Jan 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.FJan Bulldozing Company Limited.

Feedback:  farisha.ahmed@fijisun.com.fj

 




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