NATION

Woman Faces $10,000 Alleged Passport Bribery Charge

Devi remanded in custody because she failed to produce sureties. A woman accused of a $10,000 passport bribery case appeared yesterday in the Suva Magis­trates Court. Between January 18-22, 2018,
25 Jan 2018 11:00
Woman Faces $10,000 Alleged Passport Bribery Charge
Meena Devi outside the Suva Magistrates Court on January 24, 2018. Photo: Fonua Talei

Devi remanded in custody because she failed to produce sureties.

A woman accused of a $10,000 passport bribery case appeared yesterday in the Suva Magis­trates Court.

Between January 18-22, 2018, Meena Devi, 47, of Na­sole, Nasinu, without lawful authority allegedly of­fered to provide or promised to provide $10,000 to an Immigration Inspector to make a Fiji passport for a Chinese national.

Devi allegedly offered the money to the public offi­cial with the intent to influence him in the exercise of his duties.

Defence lawyer Ashnil Nadan appeared for the ac­cused while Police prosecutor Constable Walter Taito appeared for the State.

Constable Taito served the accused in court with first phase disclosures and made objections to her bail application.

Constable Taito advanced his objections on the grounds that the case was of public interest and that Devi’s husband was a New Zealand national, which made her a flight risk.

He also said that the charge involved the alleged bribery of a public official and according to the Divi­sional Police Officer Southern there was a likelihood she would interfere with State witnesses.

Constable Taito also stated that Devi was charged with a serious offence.

In response, Devi’s lawyer, Mr Nadan, clarified that his client’s husband was not a New Zealand citizen, rather he was there for a medical check.

Mr Nadan said Devi was willing to abide by strict bail conditions imposed by the court and had two sureties available to bail her out.

The defence lawyer also submitted that Devi was willing to report to her nearest Police station three times a week.

Mr Nadan said his client had no previous convic­tions and there was no likelihood of interference be­cause she had never breached any bail conditions.

Constable Taito confirmed that Devi’s passport was in the custody of the Investigating Officer.

After considering submissions made by both law­yers, Magistrate Liyanage Wickramasekara said it was in the interest of justice that Devi be released on bail and that she abide by strict bail conditions.

The court ordered Devi to submit $2000 cash bail, and provide two sureties for a sum of $2000 bond and to pay an additional $500 in bail bond.

She was ordered not to offend whilst on bail, not to interfere with prosecution witnesses and not to relo­cate without prior permission of the court.

Magistrate Wickramasekara further ordered Devi to report to her nearest Police Station every Friday be­tween 8am and 4pm, and imposed a travel ban on her.

She was also ordered to surrender her travel docu­ments to the Court registry.

But the accused was remanded in custody because she failed to produce the sureties.

She will appear in court again today for another op­portunity to produce two suitable sureties.

Edited by Naisa Koroi

Feedback: fonua.talei@fijisun.com.fj


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