NATION

Seven-Year Terms For Ex-PWD Employees

Two former employees of the Public Works Department were sentenced to seven years in jail by the High Court in Suva. Amelia Vunisea and Laisa Halafi were sentenced by Justice
29 Sep 2018 14:49
Seven-Year Terms For Ex-PWD Employees

Two former employees of the Public Works Department were sentenced to seven years in jail by the High Court in Suva.

Amelia Vunisea and Laisa Halafi were sentenced by Justice Riyaz Hamza on Thursday.

Vunisea pleaded guilty to one count of abuse of office and 33 counts of causing a loss.

Halafi admitted one count of abuse of office, 27 counts of causing a loss and one count of obtaining a financial advantage.

Vunisea, 58, caused a total loss to the PWD amounting to $93,512.48.

Halafi, 43, caused a total loss to the PWD amounting to $75,981.9 and the financial advantage obtained by her amounted to $27,400.

While sentencing the two women, Justice Hamza said: “It was a serious breach of trust. Both were employees of PWD and were holding responsible positions.”

Justice Hamza said to the two women that: “As employees you owed a duty towards your employer to be honest and loyal in the performance of your functions.

“By your actions you have breached this trust. The repetitive and systematic breaches of procurement procedures, which establishes the fact that there was prior planning and a deliberate attempt by you to defraud public funds.

“A large amount of public funds was defrauded,” Justice Hamza said.

The two were charged alongside seven others by the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) last year for causing a loss of $93,512.48 from PWD They admitted facilitating false payments to Crazy and Entire Office Supplies between February 1, 2010, and May 31, 2010.

Vunisea and Halafi are currently serving inmates after being sentenced to eight and nine years 11 months respectively, in May last year.

Last month, the duo were handed sentences of six years each for similar offences.

All these sentences are being served concurrently. They were given 30 days to appeal to the Court of Appeal.

Edited by Epineri Vula

Feedback:  ashna.kumar@fijisun.com.fj

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