Crime & Court

Former Diplomat Mara Denies Fraud Charges

Mara’s lawyer, Sharoneel Deo from R Patel Lawyers, told the court that if the prosecution would be able to prove a case to answer following their case, the defence would call Mara as the defence witness
01 Jul 2020 11:41
Former Diplomat Mara Denies Fraud Charges
Solo Mara outside the Suva Court House on June 30, 2020. Photo: Ronald Kumar

A former Fijian Ambassador to the United States and diplomat yesterday denied charges of fraudulent activities.

Solo Mara is charged by the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) with one count each of obtaining financial advantage and causing a loss.

Mara appeared before Chief Magistrate Usaia Ratuvili for two of his cases.

It is alleged that Mara, between September 1, 2016 and October 31, 2017 at the Fiji Embassy in Washington, engaged in conduct, namely causing payments to be made to himself from the Washington Embassy funds. As a result of such conduct he allegedly obtained a financial advantaged in the amount of US$18,700.19 equivalent to FJD$38,481.17 for himself, knowing that he was not eligible to receive the said advantage.

It is also alleged that Mara, between September 1, 2016 and October 31, 2017, at the Fiji Embassy in Washington, dishonestly caused a loss to the Fiji Government by causing payments to be made to himself from the Washington Embassy funds. He allegedly did so knowing that a loss would occur or that a substantial risk of loss would occur to the Fiji Government.

For the second matter, Mara’s lawyer, Sharoneel Deo from R Patel Lawyers, told the court that if the prosecution would be able to prove a case to answer following their case, the defence would call Mara as the defence witness.

FICAC lawyer Darren Hicks told the court that the prosecution would be calling 10 witnesses and relying on nine documents.

The matter has been fixed for hearing from October 26 to October 28 this year commencing at 10.30am.

Bail has been extended.

Edited by Ivamere Nataro

Feedback: ashna.kumar@fijisun.com.fj

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