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Minister Reddy Charged With Bribery

The Minister for Education, Heritage and Arts, Mahendra Reddy pleaded not guilty to one count each of bribery and undue influence at the Suva Magistrates Court yesterday. Charged by the
05 Jul 2017 10:01
Minister Reddy Charged With Bribery
From left: Ministry of Education, Heritage and Arts Corporate Services director Releshni Karan, Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Vijay Nath and Minister for Education, Heritage and Arts Mahendra Reddy outside the Suva Magistrates Courton July 4, 2017. Mr Reddy is charged with one count of bribery and one count of undue influence. He pleaded not guilty. Photo: Ronald Kumar

The Minister for Education, Heritage and Arts, Mahendra Reddy pleaded not guilty to one count each of bribery and undue influence at the Suva Magistrates Court yesterday.

Charged by the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC), Reddy appeared before Chief Magistrate Usaia Ratuvili.

He was represented by Suva lawyers, Pravesh Sharma and Reddy Nandan.

FICAC prosecutor Rashmi Aslam outside court house in Suva on July 4, 2017.  Photo: Ronald Kumar

FICAC prosecutor Rashmi Aslam outside court house in Suva on July 4, 2017.
Photo: Ronald Kumar

According to FICAC, Reddy is charged with undue influence contrary to Section 141 of the Electoral Act No.11 of 2014 and one count of bribery contrary to Section 140(2) of the Electoral Act No.11 of 2014.

On May 8, it is alleged that the Minister in Rakiraki, Western Division, in order to influence the vote of a school manager directly conferred or offered to offer a benefit, namely a steady water resource for the school.

It is further alleged that he also interfered with the free exercise or performance of a political right of the school manager that was relevant to the 2018 election.

FICAC lawyer, Rashmi Aslam told the court that full disclosures have been served to the accused.

The prosecution did not object to bail. Reddy was released on a bail bond in a sum of $500 after two sureties were produced.

His sureties were Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Vijay Nath and a close friend.

His bail conditions were to report to the Nabua Police Station once a week at any time from 8am to 6pm.

The court also ordered Reddy not to change his residential address and surrender all travelling documents to the court registry.

A stop departure was also issued.

Minister for Education, Heritage and Arts Mahendra Reddy outside the Suva Magistrates Court with Defence Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola (right) on June 4, 2017. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Minister for Education, Heritage and Arts Mahendra Reddy outside the Suva Magistrates Court with Defence Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola (right) on June 4, 2017. Photo: Ronald Kumar

The prosecution requested that the matter be disposed promptly in accordance with Section 18 A of the Electoral Act.

The defence was given 14 days to inform the court of their stand on the caution interview.

The complaint was referred to FICAC by the Secretary to the Electoral Commission pursuant to section 18 of the Electoral Act.

The case has been adjourned to July 19.

Edited by Caroline Ratucadra

Feedback:  arieta.vakasukawaqa@fijisun.com.fj

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