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Reddy Suspended By Fiji FA

Fiji Football Association Vice President Tarunesh Reddy has been banned for five years from all levels of football activities in Fiji. His being found guilty of misusing $26, 578.87 of
12 Dec 2018 10:26
Reddy Suspended By Fiji FA
Suspended Fiji Football Association Vice-president,Tarunesh Reddy. Photo: FijiFA

Fiji Football Association Vice President Tarunesh Reddy has been banned for five years from all levels of football activities in Fiji.

His being found guilty of misusing $26, 578.87 of asso­ciation’s funds for personal use through a credit card.

Initially, the amount was over $63,000.00 but following the al­legations made against him, he put in his claims for allow­ances and this was deducted leaving a balance of $26,578.87.

The Ethics Committee, which handed down its ruling, is an independent committee from Fiji Football Association and chaired by Lautoka lawyer Shailend Krishna who is also a member of the Oceania Foot­ball Confederation (OFC) Dis­ciplinary Committee. Other members in the committee are lawyers Mark Anthony and Shailendra Nadan.

The Committee is an inde­pendent body with powers to summon any individual in Fiji Football Association including the President of Fiji FA.

Reddy had faced four charges with the first being the allega­tions that he misused the cred­it card between 28th February 2015 and 11th April 2017 that was given to him for official duties by withdrawing cash or charging items for his personal use.

The second count is a Breach of Loyalty where he had put his interest ahead of Fiji FA’s and caused a loss to Fiji FA of $26,578.87.

The third count is conflict of Interest whereby Reddy breached the Code of Ethics by failing to avoid a situation of conflict of interest by failing to perform his duty with integ­rity, using the credit card for personal advantage and failing to report the matter to Fiji FA of what he had done.

The hearing was conducted on the 15th September 2018 where he had denied the charg­es.

He raised a concern during the hearing that the lawyer representing Fiji FA, Samuel Ram was a personal lawyer for Fiji FA, president Rajesh Patel.

In the ruling, Krishna noted that Reddy had paid Fiji FA the amount in question through a cheque which was later dis­honoured.

He later gave another cheque for the same amount.

“I must ask the question, why was the $26,578.87 paid by Red­dy to Fiji FA,” Krishna asked in his ruling.

“There is no evidence before the panel that shows the pay­ment of $26,578.87 is made un­der protest.

It is evident for the evidence (s) the amount paid by Mr Red­dy was a restitution when the Finance Committee concluded that Mr Reddy had used the credit card for his personal use.

“Mr Reddy would have known he had no money in the ac­count – the sum is substan­tially large not to, in fact, it is a criminal offence under the Crimes Act to write cheques without money in the account.

“The panel is advised by the Finance Committee that the actual misuse of the funds is over $63,000.However Mr Reddy put in his claims for al­lowances as Vice President for years preceding. This claim for allowances were allowed to be set off or deducted from the $63,000 (approximately).”

Ravneet Charan, defence law­yer for Reddy had argued that some of the Visa statements had a written notation to pay and as such if the notation was to pay, then the expenditure was sanctioned which then could not amount to misappro­priation.

He also argued that for the years in question, the accounts were passed at AGM’s for Fiji FA congress meetings and the misappropriation was not raised.

Mr Krishna said Reddy was guilty of the allegations and it was an accepted principle that the restitution was only a miti­gating factor and not a defence to the charges.

Edited by Anasilini Natoga

Feedback: charles.chambers@fijisun.com.fj

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