NEWS

Seven MPs Charged With $186,749 Allowance Fraud

They are each charged with one count of false information to a public servant and one count of obtaining financial advantage.
04 Dec 2020 13:13
Seven MPs Charged With $186,749 Allowance Fraud
SODELPA MPs (from left) Adi Litia Qionibaravi, Peceli Vosanibola, Ratu Suliano Matanitobua, Salote Radrodro, ) Simione Rasova, Niko Nawaikula and FijiFirst MP Vijendra Prakash outside the Magistrates Court in Suva on December 3, 2020. Photos: Leon Lord

 

Seven Parliamentarians who are charged for allegedly obtaining travel and accommodation allowances to the total value of $186,749.20, appeared at the Magistrates Court in Suva yesterday.

 

The MPs charged by the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) are:

  • FijiFirst Member of Parliament Vijendra Prakash,
  • SODELPA MPs Ratu Suliano Matanitobua, Salote Radrodro, Adi Litia Qionibaravi, Peceli Vosanibola, Simione Rasova and Niko Nawaikula.

They are each charged with one count of false information to a public servant and one count of obtaining financial advantage.

It is alleged that the MPs breached the Parliamentary Remuneration Act of 2014 when they claimed travel and accommodation allowances, they were not entitled to.

The allegations were brought by the Parliament Secretary General, Viniana Namosimalua.

Prakash appeared before before Magistrate Waleen George and was represented by lawyer Avinesh Reddy.

SODELPA MPs appeared before Chief Magistrate Usaia Ratuvili and were represented by lawyer Sevuloni Valenitabua.

  • Prakash is alleged to have obtained $33,670 between August 2019 and March 2020.

He is also alleged to have lied to Ms Namosimalua about his residential address to obtain travel and accommodation allowance.

He allegedly listed his address as Waidradra in Vunidawa, Naluwai in Naitasiri where he has a farm, while residing in Omkar Road in Nasinu.

 

SODELPA MPs:

  • Radrodro, Vosanibola, Nawaikula and Matanitobua only brought one surety and have been ordered to produce a second surety at the next court date.
  • SODELPA MP Ro Filipe Tuisawau offered to be the second surety for Matanitobua, however, FICAC strongly objected to this on the grounds that no MP should be a surety because the accused person was a MP.
  • Chief Magistrate Ratuvili has ordered that the orders of the court on residential addresses will be effective after next week’s parliamentary sitting as some MPs live outside Suva and need to attend sessions.
  • Matanitobua is alleged to have falsely stated that his permanent place of residence was in Namosi Village, Namosi and allegedly obtained $38,378.22 between August 2019 and April 2020.
  • Radrodro is alleged to have falsely stated that her permanent place of residence was in Namulomulo Village, Nabouwalu, Bua and allegedly obtained $37,920.13 between August 2019 and April 2020.
  • Rasova is alleged to have falsely stated that his permanent place of residence was in Nasenivolau, Nabouwalu Village, Ono, Kadavu Island and allegedly obtained $21,350 between July 2019 and April 2020.
  • Nawaikula is alleged to have falsely stated that his permanent place of residence was in Buca Village, Buca Bay and allegedly obtained $20,201.35 between August 2019 and April 2020.
  • Vosanibola is alleged to have falsely stated that his permanent place of residence was in Navuloa village, Bureta, Ovalau, Lomaiviti and allegedly obtained $19,749.50 between August 2019 and March 2020.
  • Qionibaravi is alleged to have falsely stated that her permanent place of residence was in Ucunivanua, Verata, Tailevu and allegedly obtained $15,480 between August 2019 and April 2020.

 

Bail conditions:

Radrodro, Vosanibola, Matanitobua, Qionibaravi, Rasova and Nawaikula were each granted bail in the sum of $700 and ordered to surrender their travel documents.

Chief Magistrate Ratuvili also issued a stop departure order on all the SODELPA MPs.

Each of them have been ordered to reside at their fixed residential addresses given to the court and report to their nearest Police station every last Friday of the month.

Prakash has been granted bail in the sum of $5000 and ordered not to reoffend while he was on bail.

Magistrate George has also issued a stop departure order on Prakash and ordered him not to obtain any travel documents.

All the matters will be called on January 25, 2021, for mention.

Feedbackashna.kumar@fijisun.com.fj

 

 



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