NEWS

NFP Man in Court

A lawyer and National Federation Party candidate appeared in the Rakiraki Magistrates Court yesterday charged with one count of conversion and one count of money laundering. Semi Jitoko, 45, who
02 Nov 2018 11:53
NFP Man in Court
Semi Jitoko of Garcia Law Firm, Rakiraki. Photo: Nicolette Chambers

A lawyer and National Federation Party candidate appeared in the Rakiraki Magistrates Court yesterday charged with one count of conversion and one count of money laundering.

Semi Jitoko, 45, who runs the Garcia Law Firm in Rakiraki, is charged together with the firm’s accountant, Aporosa Naluvekau, 35.

Both men appeared before Magistrate Lisiate Fotofili. It is alleged that Jitoko and Naluvekau deceptively obtained more than $120,000 from a 55-year-old woman’s trust account and transferred it to another account.

For the first count of money laundering, Jitoko is alleged to have fraudulently converted more than $120,000 that was entrusted to his firm for safe custody under the victim’s trust fund to his own use and benefit sometime between July 2017 and June 2018.

For the second count of money laundering, Jitoko is alleged to have engaged directly or indirectly in transactions involving more than $120,000.

It is alleged that a person from overseas had sent $200,000 to the trust account for the purchase of a property, but Jitoko allegedly transferred $120,000 into his law firm account.

The firm’s accountant, Naluvekau, is charged with one count of money laundering. It is alleged that he engaged directly or indirectly in transactions involving more than $120,000.

Jitoko told the court that he had been in detention for more than 48 hours since being taken in on October 30.

Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) lawyer Josaia Niudamu did not object to bail.

Magistrate Fotofili adjourned the case to February 14, 2019 and granted the accused bail in the sum of $5000 each.

He also said Jitoko and Naluvekau had no previous convictions and there was no requirement for a curfew.

They were ordered not to interfere with witnesses or offend. Jitoko was asked to surrender his passport and seek permission from the court if he wished to travel abroad.

Naluvekau did not have a passport and was ordered not to apply for one.

Edited by Naisa Koroi

Feedback:  nicolette.chambers@fijisun.com.fj

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