NEWS

Former Civil Servant Charged

A  former senior civil servant appeared in court yesterday charged with over $4million fraud. Viliame Katia, the ex-Acting Deputy Official Receiver for the Judicial Department, appeared before Suva magistrate Shageeth
19 Nov 2016 14:22
Former Civil Servant Charged
Viliame Katia is escorted by FICAC officers to Court yesterday. Photo: PAULINI RATULAILAI.
A  former senior civil servant appeared in court yesterday charged with over $4million fraud.

Viliame Katia, the ex-Acting Deputy Official Receiver for the Judicial Department, appeared before Suva magistrate Shageeth Somaratne.

Magistrate Somaratne has granted Katia bail in the sum of $5000.

Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption has charged Katia with 11 counts that include four counts each of forgery, three counts each of abuse of office, and a count each for embezzlement by servant, false information to public servant, unauthorised modification of data, and obtaining a financial advantage.

 

Count one – Abuse of office

It is alleged that Katia between July 1, 2008 and January 31, 2010, at Suva, whilst being employed as the Acting Deputy Official Receiver, in abuse of the authority of his office did an arbitrary act for the purpose of gain by causing payments amounting to $339,201.05 to be processed by the accounts section of the Official Receiver.

The sum is alleged to have been drawn from the Official Receiver’s bankruptcy account which was an act prejudicial to the rights of the creditors for whom the Official Receiver held the sum in trust and to the Government of Fiji.

 

Count two – Forgery

It is alleged that Katia with inof internal memorandums of an employee of the office of the Official Receiver in Lautoka and forged the signatures in order to facilitate the unlawful payment of monies from the official receiver’s bankruptcy account to himself.

 

Count three – Forgery

It is alleged that emails were also sent from the same employees account in Lautoka in order to state that purported creditors were willing to accept reduced payments from their bankrupt debtors in order to facilitate the unlawful payment of monies from the official receiver’s bankruptcy account to himself.

 

Count four – Embezzlement by servant

It is alleged that Katia embezzled monies in the sum of $339,201.05 from the official receiver’s bankruptcy account which had been entrusted to his office by virtue of his employment.

 

Count five – Abuse of office for gain

It is alleged that Katia Between February 1, 2010 and July 31, 2014, caused payments amounting to $2,472,161.18 to be processed by the accounts section of the office of the Official Receiver.

 

Count six – Abuse of office for gain

It is alleged that Katia between July 1, 2014 and December 31, 2015 caused payments amounting to $1,307,085.20 to be processed by the accounts section of the office of the Official Receiver.

The sum is alleged to have been drawn from the Official Receiver’s liquidation account.

 

Count seven – Forgery

It is alleged that between February 1, 2010 and December 31, 2015 Katia sent emails that were purported to have been sent by an employee of the office of the Official Receiver in Lautoka in order to dishonestly induce public officials employed within the office of the Official Receiver in Suva.

 

Count eight – False Information to public servant

It is alleged that Katia gave false information to the Acting Official Receiver which were the falsified emails and accompanying minutes written by him onto the printed emails knowing that it would cause approval of payments, which were made to the purported creditors which the Acting Official Receiver ought not to have done if the true state of facts were known to him.

 

Count nine – Unauthorised modification of data

It is alleged that Katia knowingly caused unauthorised modification of data held in a computer at the office of the Official Receiver in Suva which were editing of the official bankruptcy and liquidation records and addition of false debtor and creditor records into the FOX PRO System used by the official receiver.

 

Count 10 – Obtaining financial advantage

It is alleged that Katia obtained a financial advantage amounting to $3,779,246.38 from the office of the official receiver’s bankruptcy and liquidation accounts knowing that he was not eligible to receive it.

 

Count 11 – Forgery

It is alleged that Katia on January 14, 2016 made false documents which were a court order on winding up dated May 28, 1992 purported to have been made by the High Court of Fiji at Lautoka and proof of debt general forms, with the intention of dishonestly inducing public officials employed within the office of the official receiver in Suva, to accept them as genuine in order to dishonestly influence the exercise of the public duties and functions of the said public officials.

FICAC lawyer Laite Bokini-Ratu served first phase disclosures and did not object to bail but asked the court to impose strict bail conditions.

Katia informed the court that he will be seeking advice from a private lawyer.

His bail conditions are that he is not to reoffend, not to interfere with the prosecution witnesses, he is to report to the FICAC office every Monday, Wednesday and Friday between 8am to 6pm and he is to surrender all his travel documents.

A stop departure order has been imposed against him and two sureties have signed a $5000 surety bond each.

The case has been adjourned to December 22 for second phase disclosures and for the accused to have his counsel present.

 

Edited by Naisa Koroi

Feedback:  jessica.gounder@fijisun.com.fj

 

 

Role of an Official Receiver is to:

Provide insolvency management services when appointed by the Court and creditors to act as trustee or as liquidator; realise assets of insolvent companies and bankrupts, investigate and agree on creditor’s claims; distribute proceeds

Act as trustee or liquidator of last resort in small cases

Investigate the affairs of bankrupts, directors and officers of insolvent companies; report to the Court on causes of business failures; take action on prosecuting persons for insolvency offences

Monitor the conduct of private insolvency practitioners, invest funds, audit accounts and investigate complaints against liquidators and trustees.



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