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Scam Trial Closing Submissions

The $3.1million scam trial neared its end as lawyers presented their closing submissions yesterday in the High Court in Suva. Defence lawyers for first-accused Firoz Jan Mohammed and second-accused Iliesa
16 Jun 2015 11:51
Scam Trial Closing Submissions

The $3.1million scam trial neared its end as lawyers presented their closing submissions yesterday in the High Court in Suva.

Defence lawyers for first-accused Firoz Jan Mohammed and second-accused Iliesa Turagacati addressed the court with their closing remarks.

This was followed by the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) making its closing submissions.

 

Summaries of closing submissions

-Ian Lloyd QC for first-accused Firoz Jan Mohammed

Mohammed faces three counts in this alleged scam.   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.

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

Mr Lloyd submitted that his client remained silent and did not give evidence in court. He said this did not mean that he was guilty, as the burden of proof lay solely, with FICAC to prove his clients guilt.

He said there were three major witnesses concerning his client; Kaliova Qio, Mosese Mawalu and Ratu Simione Vutevute and that none of this three were reliable and truthful.

He said Mawalu and Qio might have motive to lie in court because the money paid to them by Mohammed for royalties was not shared among various mataqali in Bukuya. Mr Lloyd said Mohammed through his staff sent $110000 to Turagacati that was for royalty payments. This sum was redirected to Turagacati for a fish business deal with Mawalu and Qio.

Mr Lloyd said if his client bribed Turagacati, why would he tell his staff member Mohammed Azim that the telegraphic money orders sent were for royalty payments.

He said Mohammed could have personally met Turagacati along Kings Road and handed those money personally.

 

FACTS

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

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 the accused deny the charges.

Counsels: Firoz Jan Mohammed: Queen Counsel Ian Lloyd

Iliesa Turagacati: Nancy Tikoisuva

Navitalai Tamanitoakula: Filimone Vosarogo

Aisea Liwaiono: Taina Leweni

Judge: Justice Paul Madigan

 

 

He submitted that for day work claims, 98 per cent of the day works were done and the claims made by his clients company were accurate despite being claimed in 2012 for 2010 works.

 

nNancy Tikoisuva for Turagacati

Ms Tikoisuva said her client faces a count of receiving bribery and another count for causing loss of $3.1million to his employer DNR by approving payments to T.F.Jan Bulldozing Company.

She submitted that there is no doubt that her client received $110000 but it was for a fish business which Turagacati started in the bid to raise money for his son’s medical treatment to India.

She said Mawalu and Qio denied knowing her client or having any fish business with him but she claimed that this two witnesses were not credible and they lied in court.

Ms Tikoisuva submitted that Turagacati only signed on interim payment certificates after the director of the then DNR Atunaisa Nayago signed. However she said Mr Nayago denied in court that any 14 payment vouchers had his signature but Ms Tikoisuva said through other witnesses she was able to extract that Mr Nayago had different signatures.

She said that as for the same pens used, her client informed the court that DNR supplied stationeries to the staff hence the same pen used for by people signing on the interim certificates.

She said as for the $12,000 recovered from Turagacati’s house, it was still not returned to her client because FICAC claimed they were still investigating. She said there was evidence that the $12000 was for Kavula Village Church which had supporting documents with it. She said the FICAC investigators claimed this money was voluntarily handed by Turagacati however she said had this been the case, why was it not written on the search list as ‘voluntary given’ as was in other accused search list.

 

Rashmi Aslam for FICAC

Mr Aslam submitted that as for the first-accused, Mohammed was engaged in a conduct where he got false invoices created by his staff and submitted to DNR.

He said in order to look at day works claim for Nadrugu Road, witness Mukesh Chand informed the court that there was not much work done on the road. Mr Aslam said another witness, Emosi Bure informed court that he was called to come to T.F.Jan and sign documents for Nadrugu Road. He said Bure was shown photographs and according to Mohammed this was for Nadrugu Road but Bure clarified it was Koronubu Road.

Mr Aslam showed a letter which had already been exhibited in court written by Mohammed to DNR stating that preparatory works on Nadrugu road was done out of goodwill by the company and free of charge. He said the company which was consistently writing to DNR about delays in payment could not have forgotten to claim over $1million payment in 2010 and went on to claim for it in 2012.

He said this could not be the case. Mr Aslam said all this while since 2010 to February 2012, the company knew about verification process because all invoices went through the DNR Lautoka office and just in 2012 they decided to bypass it. He said just after 2012, the bulldozing company claims not knowing about verification process.

Closing submissions continue this morning with Mr Aslam making submissions on second-accused, followed by third and fourth accused lawyer and Mr Aslam again making submissions on the third and fourth-accused case to prove their guilt.

 

Feedback: farisha.ahmed@fijisun.com.fj

 




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