Crime

Former PWD Staff Found Guilty Of Abuse Of Office

They are currently serving eight and 10 years in jail for similar corruption-related offences when they were at PWD.
05 Jul 2019 14:03
Former PWD Staff Found Guilty Of Abuse Of Office
Ana Laqere (left), and Vaciseva Lagai (right) outside High Court in Suva on July 4, 2019. Photo: Kelera Sovasiga

Two former public servants were handed jail time by the High Court in Suva yesterday for facilitating payments to a supplier and causing a loss to the Government.

Vaciseva Lagai and Ana Laqere had pleaded guilty to a count of abuse of office and two counts of causing a loss.

The two were employed at the Public Works Department (PWD) as assistant accounts officers and facilitated payments to Mass Stationery amounting to $10,557.50 between January and March 2010, for services and products that were never supplied to the PWD.

High Court Judge Justice Chamath Morais described the systematic breaches as a serious breach of the trust of their employer, which involved a significant amount of public funds.

He emphasised that a harsh sentence was necessary to act as a deterrent to others who may contemplate engaging in similar acts of corruption.

Lagai and Laqere are currently serving eight and 10 years in jail for similar corruption-related offences when they were at PWD.

The two were given three years jail time for abuse of office and 18 months each for causing a loss.

The current sentence will run concurrent to the jail time they are serving. This means their sentences will not increase.

Meanwhile, the directors of Mass Stationery, Abdul Shariff and Rajneil Anitma Wati, who were charged with obtaining a financial advantage and had their charges consolidated with Lagai and Laqere had their case transferred to the Magistrates Court.

Their lawyer had made an application that the charge was a summary offence and the accused had the right to select a Magistrates Court trial since the two women had pleaded guilty and the charges were now no longer consolidated.

Edited by Epineri Vula

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