Crime & Court

12 Crew Members Of MV Liahona II Face Drug Charges

A captain and crew members of MV Liahona II, who were allegedly found in possession of marijuana, appeared in court yesterday.
13 Feb 2020 11:20
12 Crew Members Of MV Liahona II Face Drug Charges
12 crew members MV Liahona II facing charges. PHOTO: Ronald Kumar

 

A captain and crew members of the MV Liahona II, who were allegedly found in possession of marijuana, have been ordered to obey bail conditions and not re-offend or their bail would be revoked.

Magistrate Jioji Boseiwaqa yesterday gave a stern warning to the 12 men while granting bail.

The 12 accused are: Akuila Cama, 69, captain, Sailosi Bure, 47, chief engineer, Samuela Kelepi, chief mate, Inoke Matavesi, 36, second engineer, Sekaia Sokomuri, 28, deck watch rating, Rafaele Nakavulevu, 26, deck watch rating,  Garville Qeranatabua, 26, engineer watch rating, Marika Baro, 24, engineer rating, Ned Murray, 18, cadet, Alifereti Senikuraciri, 24, cadet, Josifiliti Baleinayau, 39, ordinary seaman, and Joji Vuniwai, 28, welder.

The crew members including the Captain of MV Liahona II have been charged following the discovery of more than $50,000 worth of marijuana on the ship last Sunday night.

A raid was conducted by an operation team from the Totogo Police Station which resulted in the seizure of several packages of dried leaves that were later tested positive as marijuana.

The vessel had returned from a trip to Kadavu when the information was received of the group’s alleged involvement in the transportation of illicit substances.

Screenshot 2020-02-13 at 11.12.43 AM

The 12 crew members are charged with one count each of unlawful possession of illicit drugs and illegal transportation of illicit drugs.

It is alleged that the 12 crew members on February 9, 2020, at Narain Jetty in Suva, inside MV Liahona II, the crew members had in their possession 1822.5 grams of marijuana without lawful authority.

For the offence of illegal transportation of illicit drugs: it is alleged that on February 9, 2020, at Narain Jetty in Suva, the 12 unlawfully transported 1822.5 grams of marijuana or Indian Hemp on MV Liahona II.

Accused Vuniwai is also charged with one count of unlawful possession of illicit drugs. It is alleged that on February 9, 2020, at Narain Jetty in Suva, inside MV Liahona II, Vuniwai was found in possession of 3.3 grams of marijuana without lawful authority.

Police prosecutor Corporal Luke Qerewaqa did not object to bail. However, he sought strict bail conditions. Defence counsel Tanya Waqanika told the court that the accused persons sought bail as their livelihood depends on their job.

Magistrate Boseiwaqa granted bail to all 12 accused persons with a bail bond of $300 each.

They were ordered to surrender their passports and travel documents to the court registry and report to Totogo Police Station every first Monday of the month. The matter has been adjourned for mention to April 2.

Edited by Percy Kean

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