NATION

Defence Disputes Amount Paid by Tikoca

The trial against suspended Opposition parliamentarian, Isoa Tikoca, continued yesterday in the Suva Magistrates Court. The defence argued in court that Tikoca had paid $4436.34 extra. Charge: Tikoca is charged
11 Jan 2017 11:33
Defence Disputes Amount Paid by Tikoca
Elections office supervisor Muhammed Saneem lkost in his own thoughts before taking the stand as a crown witness in the Ratu Isoa Tikoca's trial at the Suva courthouse yesterday.Photo:Jone Luvenitoga

The trial against suspended Opposition parliamentarian, Isoa Tikoca, continued yesterday in the Suva Magistrates Court.

The defence argued in court that Tikoca had paid $4436.34 extra.

Charge:

Tikoca is charged by the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption with failing to declare his liabilities before the 2014 general elections.

It is alleged that his failure was contrary to Section 24 (2) (a) (vii) and Section 24 (5) of the political parties registration, conduct, funding and disclosures decree no. 4 of 2013.

FICAC Witness one: Former director corporate services for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kelera Niutaumaki.

Defence lawyer, Kitione Vuataki continued his cross examination with Ms Niutaumaki.

Mr Vuataki put it to Ms Niutaumaki that the actual amount that was to be paid by Tikoca was $90,090.39, to which she responded saying that she did not agree with the amount.

Mr Vuataki emphasised to the court that according to the defence case, Tikoca paid more then what he was supposed to.

“Based on source documents we say Tikoca does not owe the Government any money,” Mr Vuataki said.

These allegations came by when Tikoca was the High Commissioner of Fiji to Papua New Guinea on April 10, 2006.

It is alleged that he spent public funds to the total amount of $94,526.73 on his son’s educational fees at St Joseph ‘s College in Brisbane, Australia.

FICAC Witness two: Supervisor of Elections, Mohammed Saneem

FICAC prosecutor Rashmi Aslam asked Mr Saneem if he had received any complaints regarding Tikoca during the 2014 elections.

Mr Saneem said that he received a complaint on February 13, 2015, via email from the Ministry of Finance stating that Tikoca had debts to the Government.

Mr Saneem further explained that when someone registers to be a candidate, they fill a declaration form for their assets, liabilities and income.

“Tikoca had declared his assets and liabilities in Fiji and abroad and had only stated his car debt of $5000 from Pala’s but he did not declare the debt that was stated by Ministry of Finance,” said Mr Saneem.

Defence lawyer, Jolame Uludole, during cross examination, asked Mr Saneem what would be the five year cut off period when the nomination date is August 18, 2014.

Mr Saneem responded saying it would be August 18, 2009.

Mr Uludole further put it to Mr Saneem that Tikoca doesn’t owe the Government any money and does not need to declare his liabilities that were not in that five-year period.

Mr Aslam objected to the statement put to the witness and informed the court that Mr Uludole was asking legal matters of law to the witness which he did not have to answer because whether he had a liability and whether it comes under the five-year period was a matter of law that the court should decide.

Magistrate Mua upheld the prosecutions objection and questioned the defence on why preliminary matters were raised during trial proper.

She further stated that it was a matter of law and it was not for the witness to answer.

Mr Vuataki informed the court that he would consult Mr Uludole and inform the court today during the continuation of the trial.



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