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Vakaloloma to be Issued Conditional Licence for Trial

Defence lawyer Aseri Vakaloloma will be issued a practicing certificate (PC) subject to conditions, the High Court in Suva heard yesterday. Legal Practitioners Unit lawyer, Tui Kilakila told the court
03 Mar 2017 16:12
Vakaloloma to be Issued Conditional Licence for Trial

Defence lawyer Aseri Vakaloloma will be issued a practicing certificate (PC) subject to conditions, the High Court in Suva heard yesterday.

Legal Practitioners Unit lawyer, Tui Kilakila told the court that a conditional certificate will be issued to Vakaloloma to continue an abuse of office trial.

It was established in court that Mr Vakaloloma had attended cases, knowing that his practicing licence would expire on February 28.

Mr Vakaloloma is representing four of the eight accused charged for alleged abuse of office by the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC).

Judge Justice Thushara Rajasinghe asked Mr Vakaloloma if he had applied for a renewal of his licence.

In response, Mr Vakaloloma said that he had applied for it yesterday morning – referring to the licence application as “just a piece of paper.”

Mr Kilakila told the court to note down what Mr Vakaloloma had said about his application to renew his practicing licence.

FICAC lawyer, Rashmi Aslam told the court that he would be writing to the Chief Registrar to explain the importance of the case and the importance of Mr Vakaloloma continuing as the defence lawyer because the trial would last for six weeks.

The court heard that this trial would be one of the longest trials in the 2017 calendar for the High Court.

Mr Kilakila said that between yesterday evening and this morning, Mr Vakaloloma should receive his conditional certificate.

Some of the conditions for the conditional certificate are that; it is only valid for three weeks which will expire on March 24 and that it can only be used for the current trial before Justice Rajasinghe.

Mr Kilakila further told the court that this conditional certificate was for Mr Vakaloloma only and as for his associates, their application for a renewal were still being looked into.

Mr Aslam told the court that he would not put a cost for the two days delay as long as the trial continued without any obstacles.

He said that he was willing to give Mr Vakaloloma one more chance, as they were still within the allocated time of the trial and hopes that it finished accordingly.

FICAC has charged Ana Laqere, Tavenisa Tavaga, Amelia Vunisea, Laisa Halafi, Vaciseva Lagai, Vilisi Tuitavuki, Kiniviliame Taviraki, Shelveen Narayan.

They are facing seven counts of abuse of office, 35 counts of causing a loss and two counts of obtaining a financial advantage by deception.

Narayan has pleaded guilty and is awaiting his sentence.

All accused are former employees of the Public Works Department (PWD) while Narayan is the director of Pheonix Hardware Engineering and General Supplies, Ontime Stationery Supplies and Shavel Stationery Supplies.

The case continues today.

Edited by Caroline Ratucadra

Feedback:  jessica.gounder@fijisun.com.fj

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