NEWS

Nawaikula Selective In Listing Residential Address FICAC Alleges

It is alleged that Nawaikula breached the Parliamentary Remuneration Act of 2014 when he claimed travel and accommodation allowances, which he was not entitled to.
13 Apr 2022 12:19
Nawaikula Selective In Listing Residential Address FICAC Alleges
SODELPA Member of Parliament on trial Niko Nawaikula outside the High Court in Suva on April 12, 2022. Photo: Ashna Kumar

The Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) alleges that SODELPA Member of Parliament Niko Nawaikula was selective in listing his residential address on documents.

However, Nawaikula has told the Anti-Corruption High Court that his residential and permanent address from March 1, 2019, was Buca Village in Savusavu.

 

Cross-examination

During cross-examination, FICAC senior counsel Rashmi Aslam questioned Nawaikula about his residential address which Nawaikula said was Buca Village.

This was after Mr Aslam questioned Nawaikula on whether from March 5, 2019, if Buca Village was his residential address.

Nawaikula said he had declared the same to Parliament through a letter to the secretary-general’s office.

Mr Aslam asked Nawaikula whether as a MP he a responsibility had to protect the taxpayers’ money, Nawaikula said yes.

Nawaikula said his reasons for moving to Buca Village were to be closer to his voters, parents, house and he had a retirement plan to live in Buca Village.

The MP said he wanted to spend his life in Buca Village.

He said he was entitled to the parliamentary allowances which he claimed for and he had adhered to all due processes and procedures set out.

Mr Aslam asked Nawaikula if the declaration and application to the Legal Practitioners Unit required him to state his residential address and asked Nawaikula to tell the court of what was written in the application.

Nawaikula was handed his declaration from which he told the court that his written address was 15 kilometres Kings Road, Koronivia, Nausori.

Mr Aslam also told Nawaikula he was bound by the Legal Practitioners Act and was required to inform the Chief Registrar of a change of address via a notice.

Nawaikula said he was aware of it.

Mr Aslam told Nawaikula that the facts presented in court showed he was selective when listing down his residential address on certain documents.

Mr Aslam then showed Nawaikula his declaration made to the Parliament which stated that Nawaikula had changed his residential address to Buca Village, Buca Bay, Cakaudrove.

Mr Aslam said that when it came to LPU, Nawaikula’s residential address preference was 15 KM Kings Road, Koronivia, Nausori, however, when it came to Parliament, his preference was Buca Village.

Nawaikula disagreed with it saying that the facts were that his permanent address was Buca Village in Cakaudrove and that he had been residing at both addresses.

He said LPU did not want his permanent address, but only needed his residential address, which was also 15 KM Kings Road, Koronivia, Nausori. Nawaikula said his permanent address was Buca Village and that this was because it was the home of his forefathers.

In response to the comment, Mr Aslam told Nawaikula to stop mentioning his forefathers in court as a means of justifying his criminal activity.

Mr Aslam told Nawaikula that his forefathers were gone, and he was the one living here.

When questioned on whether Nawaikula was familiar with the Parliamentary Regulation that governed how the allowances were issued, Nawaikula said he was familiar with the Parliamentary Remunerations Act.

He told the court that the former secretary-general of Parliament never questioned or stopped his allowance at any point and because of that, he believed he had legally obtained allowances.

Nawaikula said he was a public figure and he never intended to gain financial advantage from the Parliament.

And he did not give any false information because he believed his permanent residence was Buca Village in Cakaudrove. Mr Aslam questioned Nawaikula on whether he intended to wrongfully claim parliamentary allowances.

Nawaikula said he did not and that he was aware of the plight faced by the taxpayers.

 

Charges

Nawaikula is charged by the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) with one count of false information to a public servant and obtaining financial advantage. 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.

It is alleged that Nawaikula breached the Parliamentary Remuneration Act of 2014 when he claimed travel and accommodation allowances, which he was not entitled to.

 



Fijisun Ad Space


Get updates from the Fiji Sun, handpicked and delivered to your inbox.


By entering your email address you're giving us permission to send you news and offers. You can opt-out at any time.


Fiji Sun Instagram
Subscribe-to-Newspaper