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Corruption Charge Reddy Has Case To Answer, Says Magistrate Ratuvili

Chief Magistrate Usaia Ratuvili yesterday ruled that there was a case to answer in the corruption case against former Minister for Education Mahendra Reddy. “I find that the State has
23 Sep 2017 10:21
Corruption Charge Reddy Has Case To Answer, Says  Magistrate  Ratuvili
Former Minister for Education Mahendra Reddy outside court on September 22, 2017. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Chief Magistrate Usaia Ratuvili yesterday ruled that there was a case to answer in the corruption case against former Minister for Education Mahendra Reddy.

“I find that the State has made out a prima facie case sufficient to put the accused to his defence; I shall assess the evidence in it’s entirely at the end of the trial,” Chief Magistrate Ratuvili said at the Suva Magistrates Court.

Defence lawyer Devanesh Sharma told court that Reddy would be taking the stand to give evidence.

The defence will continue it’s case on September 26.

An application was made by Mr Sharma two weeks ago stating there was not enough evidence against Reddy and that there was a no case to answer.

Chief Magistrate Ratuvili however stated that the prosecution had enough evidence.

The witnesses presented to court to testify against Reddy were Ra High School manager – Waisea Lelobo, freelance journalist Anish Chand, Deputy Secretary for the Ministry of Education Tevita Bure, Director of Operations at the Fijian Elections Office Anaseini Senimoli and Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption team leader investigation, Alifereti Waqavesi.

Reddy is charged by the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption with a count each of bribery and undue influence.

It is alleged that Reddy in May this year in the Western Division, in order to influence the vote of a school manager Waisea Lebobo, directly conferred to offer a benefit which was a steady water source for the school.

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

FICAC was represented by Rashmi Aslam.

Edited by Rusiate Mataika

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