NEWS

Court Assessors Find PWD 6 Guilty of Fraud Involving Over $362k

The five assessors in the trial of six ex-Public Works Department workers charged with abuse of office and causing a loss of $362,944.37 yesterday found them guilty in the High
02 May 2017 11:00
Court Assessors Find PWD 6 Guilty of Fraud Involving Over $362k
Court

The five assessors in the trial of six ex-Public Works Department workers charged with abuse of office and causing a loss of $362,944.37 yesterday found them guilty in the High Court of Suva.

The judge, Justice Rajahsinghe will deliver his judgment on Thursday.

The six are Ana Laqere, Amelia Vunisea, Laisa Halafi, Vaciseva Lagai, Vilisi Tuitavuki and Kiniviliame Taviraki.

They were charged in connection with the payment of  $86,319.04 to Ontime Stationery and Shavel Stationery and  $276,625.33 to Phoenix Hardware.

The six were charged by FICAC (Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption).

All five assessors found:

  •  Laqere guilty of one count of abuse of office and 35 counts of causing a loss.
  •  Vunisea guilty of one count of abuse of office and 34 counts of causing a loss
  •  Halafi guilty of one count of abuse of office, 13 counts of causing a loss and one count of obtaining a financial advantage.
  •  Lagai guilty of one count of abuse of office and nine counts of causing a loss.
  •  Tuitavuki guilty of one count of abuse of office and five counts of causing a loss.
  •  Taviraki guilty of one count of abuse of office and two counts of causing a loss.

The owner of Ontime Stationery Supplies, Shavel Stationery Supplies and Phoenix Hardware Engineering and Supplies Ltd, Shalveen Narayan was charged with obtaining a financial advantage.

Narayan had pleaded guilty and is now awaiting sentencing. He also gave evidence as a prosecution witness in the trial.

It is alleged that the six caused a loss to PWD in the sum of $362,944.37 in 2010.

They allegedly did arbitrary acts for the purpose of gain in facilitating the processing of false payments to be made to three companies namely, Ontime Stationery Supplies, Shavel Stationery Supplies and Phoenix Hardware Engineering and Supplies Ltd.

Justice Rajasinghe, in his summing up before the assessors’ verdict, said the trial had lasted two months and had seen the prosecution produce 17 witnesses, and tendered 103 documents while the defence produced three of the accused persons as witnesses.

Justice Rajasinghe said Narayan admitted that he received payments for supplies that were not delivered to PWD.

He said Narayan said he provided invoices and received cheques, which he would then cash and later give half of the money to  Halafi.

The three who chose to give evidence were Ana Laqere, Amelia Vunisea and Kiniviliame Taviraki.

Justice Rajasinghe stated that according to the evidence produced, a total of 101 transactions were made to the three companies through 60 cheques.

A total of $86,319.04 was paid to Ontime Stationery and Shavel Stationery while a sum of $276,625.33 was paid to Phoenix Hardware.

Justice Rajasinghe stated that Narayan when giving evidence stated that he provided quotes to the PWD upon request from Halafi who also told him of what to state in the quotations.

Edited by Rusiate Mataika

Feedback:  jessica.gounder@fijisun.com.fj

Fiji Sun Instagram
Fiji Plus
Subscribe-to-Newspaper
error: