NEWS

Judge finds six ex-PWD employees guilty

Justice Thushara Rajasinghe has agreed with the assessors found all six former Public Works Department (PWD) employees accused guilty. The six are Ana Laqere, Amelia Vunisea, Laisa Halafi, Vaciseva Lagai,
05 May 2017 11:37
Judge finds six ex-PWD employees guilty
L - R: Vaciseva Lagai, Vilisi Tuitavuki and Kiniviliame Taviraki on May 4, 2017. Photo: Roneel Karthik

Justice Thushara Rajasinghe has agreed with the assessors found all six former Public Works Department (PWD) employees accused guilty.

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

The seventh accused is the owner of Ontime Stationery Supplies, Shavel Stationery Supplies and Phoenix Hardware Engineering and Supplies Ltd, Shalveen Narayan.

The accused persons are charged with seven counts of abuse of office, 35 counts of causing a loss and two counts of obtaining a financial advantage.

The six former PWD employees, in abuse of their office, caused a loss to PWD in the sum of $362,944.37 in 2010.

The former employees 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.

Narayan had pleaded guilty to the charges and also gave evidence as a prosecution witness in the trial.

In his evidence Nayaran had told the court that he gave $65,200 to Halafi for arranging the transactions and had further said that he banked the money into her late husband’s account.

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 Supplies while a sum of $276,625.33 was paid to Phoenix Hardware Engineering and Supplies Ltd.

Justice Rajasinghe said that Ontime Stationery, Shavel Stationery Supplies and Phoenix Hardware Engineering and Supplies Ltd had never supplied any stationery supplies to PWD.

“Each accused had knowledge that such dishonest act will cause a loss to the government,” said Justice Rajasinghe.

Tavenisa Tavaga had been acquitted after the prosecution’s case and she was represented by Sarava Prakash from the Legal Aid.

Laqere, Vunisea, Lagai, Tuitavuki and Taviraki and Narayan have been granted bail till their sentencing next Wednesday, however, Halafi has been remanded in custody.

Edited by Naisa Koroi

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