Crime & Court

Bobby Maharaj Trial: ‘I Wasn’t Present’, Says Witness

A Prosecution witness revealed in court that he wasn’t present when Bobby Maharaj had allegedly told another employee of the then Fiji Commerce Commission to fill a fake inspection form.
19 Dec 2019 15:20
Bobby Maharaj Trial: ‘I Wasn’t Present’, Says Witness
Bobby Maharaj. Photo: Ronald Kumar

A Prosecution witness revealed in court that he wasn’t present when Bobby Maharaj had allegedly told another employee of the then Fiji Commerce Commission to fill a fake inspection form.

The former chief executive officer of the Commission, Maharaj, appeared before Magistrate Jioji Boseiwaqa in the Magistrates Court in Suva for the third day of his hearing yesterday.

Maharaj denies one count of abuse of office by Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC). Maharaj is represented by lawyers Devanesh Sharma and Sharoneel Deo. The prosecution is represented by FICAC counsels Rashmi Aslam and Sera Fatafehi.

Hearing day 3:

Witness, Nilesh Chand took the stand and told the court that he did not see Maharaj sign the original document.

He also told the court that he was not present when the form was filled and signed and that he knew about it after Sanjay Menon had informed him that he was allegedly made to fill in an inspection form by Maharaj.

Mr Chand told the court that the Commission did not have any policy or guidelines or whistleblower policy of such complaints made by the staff.

He told the court that Mr Menon had informed him that he had filled the form on the instructions of the CEO, Maharaj.

When Mr Chand was questioned by Mr Sharma whether he took any steps in relation to the complaint made to him by Mr Menon, Mr Chand said no comments.

Mr Chand also told the court that no prior warning was given to the Rajah’s Food Court and Bakery and that there was no warning letter in the file of the trader.

When Mr Sharma questioned Mr Chand if he had any personal grievance with Maharaj, he told the court that he did not.

However, Mr Chand also claimed that Maharaj had disagreements with staff which was why the Commission had a high turnover.

He also told the court that he had written a letter to the board chairman about Maharaj’s alleged conduct, however, he told the court that it was not his purpose to attack Maharaj.

The hearing continues today.

Edited by Ivamere Nataro

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