NATION

Jail Terms For Three In $3.1m Road Scam

Three people accused in the $3.1million road scam were given custodial sentences while the fourth was handed a suspended sentence. The four are businessman Firoz Jan Mohammed and three former
25 Jun 2015 13:45
Jail Terms For Three In $3.1m Road Scam
Firoz Mohammad in court yesterday. Photos: Ronald Kumar

Three people accused in the $3.1million road scam were given custodial sentences while the fourth was handed a suspended sentence.

The four are businessman Firoz Jan Mohammed and three former civil servants – Iliesa Turagacati, Navitalai Tamanitoakula and Aisea Liwaiono of the then Department of National Roads.

Mohammed, Turagacati and Tamanitoakula were convicted of bribery, obtaining a financial advantage and abuse of office while Liwaiono was convicted of two counts of dishonestly causing a loss.

They were charged by the Fiji Independent Commission against Corruption.

Mohammed was sentenced to eight years behind bars with a non-parole period of five years, Turagacati jailed for six years in jail with a non-parole term of four years, Tamanitoakula sentenced to four years imprisonment with a non-parole term of two-and-a-half years while Liwaiono was sentenced to two years in jail suspended for two years.

Justice Paul Madigan, while sentencing Mohammed yesterday morning at the High Court in Suva, said the accused disregarded many people and deprived them of better road conditions.

Justice Madigan rejected Mohammed’s annual salary statements which showed that his salary for 2012 and 2013 were around $9000. He said the accused did not declare his full assets and was seen driving an expensive luxury car during the trial.

“You have been found guilty of three counts of dishonesty and to present dishonest material in mitigation of sentence, is an insult to the court,” Justice Madigan said to Mohammed.

“I am left with no inference, other than that you are an utterly dishonest man.”

For Turagacati, Justice Madigan said that the accused brought shame to the road department by accepting bribes and approving payments although he needed to raise funds for his sick son.

For Tamanitoakula being the senior accounts officer, Justice Madigan said he should have checked when he was alerted of overpayments, which he did not, although there was no evidence of the accused benefitting from facilitating payments of $2.46million.

He said Liwaiono being the roads engineer had a responsibility where he should have checked, inspected and verified if works were done before letting the bulldozing company make claims.

However Justice Madigan suspended his sentence because he had minimal involvement, suffered from high blood pressure and the after effects of stroke.

Sentence summary

Jan

Count one, Bribery: Seven years, non parole of five years

Count three obtaining financial advantage: Eight years, non parole of five years

Count 8, perverting the course of justice: 12 months

Total sentence: Eight years imprisonment with a non parole of five years, sentence to be served concurrently

Turagacati

Count two, Bribery: Six years, non parole of four years

Count Four, Causing loss: Five years, non parole of four years

Total sentence: Six years imprisonment with a non parole of four years, sentence to be served concurrently

Tamanitoakula

Count five, causing a loss: Four years imprisonment with a non parole of two-and-a-half years

Liwaiono

Count six and seven, causing a loss: Two years imprisonment, suspended for two years.

Feedback: farisha.ahmed@fijisun.com.fj

 


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