NATION

Disagreement Over Report

The financial investigator of the Fiji Independent Commission against Corruption (FICAC) told the High Court in Suva he disagreed with a forensic accounting report presented during the course of the
02 Jun 2015 15:43
Disagreement Over Report

The financial investigator of the Fiji Independent Commission against Corruption (FICAC) told the High Court in Suva he disagreed with a forensic accounting report presented during the course of the alleged $3.1million road scam investigation.

Frank Tora took to witness stand on Day 18 of the scam trial involving the director of the T.F.Jan Bulldozing Company and four former employees of the then Department of National Roads.

Mr Tora was shown a forensic accounting report from Vantage Accounting provided by Firoz Jan Mohammed (first accused) to FICAC whereby they claimed in the reconciliation section that DNR still owed T.F.Jan bulldozing $751,719.85

Mr Tora, in his analysis, said he calculated and analysed that the forensic expert did not include four crucial payments made to the T.F.Jan Bulldozing’s Bank of Baroda account.

He said the first deposit was on January 3, 2012, totalling $434,642.48; another deposit on February 15, 2012, amounting to $482,815.80; a third deposit on April 10, 2012, of $47,840; and the last deposit by DNR to the bulldozing company amounting to $181,752. He said these payments were reflected in the T.F.Jan Bulldozing bank statement.

Mr Tora said he took these amounts into consideration – with the four deposits totalling to $1,137,050.28. He said in total the DNR paid out more than $5million instead of the $4,822,376.12 as claimed by T.F.Jan as of December 31,2012.

He said the figure still showed an overpayment of $395,330.43 and not underpayment as claimed.

Mr Tora was taken through his calculation and flowcharts by FICAC prosecutor Rashmi Aslam yesterday where 14 payment vouchers were analysed by Mr Tora with telegraphic money orders (TMO) and telephones as well as cheques.

Payment vouchers from February 27 to July 12, 2012 were shown and it was agreed by Mr Tora that overpayments of 20,000 were made to T.F. Jan Bulldozing Company. On two occasions it was also shown that the bulldozing company received overpayments of $100,000 and $150,000 on April 27 and May 4, 2012.

The TMOs also showed that Iliesa Turagacati (second accused) received money ranging from $500 up to $20,000. Mr Tora – in his analysis – found that the bigger the amount paid to T.F.Jan, the higher the amount paid to Turagacati via TMOs and as well as hand delivery by two people –Mohammed Ashif and Vaseva Tamakanalagi – who already gave evidence in court.

The payment vouchers showed to Mr Tora contained invoices and Mr Aslam asked him how these invoices were received by Turagacati, who was the project accountant at DNR.

Mr Tora informed the court that the invoices and statements from the director Firoz Jan Mohammed of T.F. Jan were sent directly via emails to Turagacati. He said there no verification stamps to substantiate for the claims as per normal procedure.

The total payment via T.M.Os’ and hand delivery to Turagacatittotaled to $110,100 and the cheques were sourced from T.F.Jan bank account.

In cross-examination, by Mohammed’s lawyer Ian Lloyd QC, Mr Tora agreed that there is no phrase requiring verification stamp on invoices for processing of payment, but Mr Tora argued that in the contract there was an inspection phrase which hinted that there was a need for claims to go through verification process.

Cross examination resumes this morning.

 

Court grants witness recall

The High Court granted a Fiji Independent Commission against Corruption submission to recall one of their earlier witnesses in the $3.1million road scam trial.

Mr Aslam said they would finish with their case by today with Chand as their last witness before their closing submission. The defence lawyers informed the court that they would be making a “no case to answer” application by tomorrow (Wednesday).

Justice Madigan said if it was the case than he would deliver his ruling on their application by Thursday.

 

CHARGES

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 $3 million.

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.

 

FACTS:

Accused persons: Firoz Jan Mohammed, Iliesa Turagacati, Navitalai Tamanitoakula, Aisea Liwaiono and Vijay Prasad

Charges: Count one and two bribery, count three is obtaining financial advantage, count four, five, six and seven is dishonestly causing loss and count eight is perverting the course of justice. All those deny the charges.

 

Lawyers: Firoz Jan Mohammed: Queen Counsel Ian Lloyd

Iliesa Turagacati: Nancy Tikoisuva

Navitalai Tamanitoakula: Filimone Vosarogo

Aisea Liwaiono: Taina Leweni

Vijay Prasad: Christina Choy

 

Judge: Justice Paul Madigan.

 

Feedback: farisha.ahmed@fijisun.com.fj

 




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