NEWS

Financial Investigator Testifies In Tui Namosi’s Case

..testified that she did not check whether the person certifying Tui Namosi’s claimed documents, was the proper authority..
07 Jun 2022 10:57
Financial Investigator Testifies In Tui Namosi’s Case
SODELPA Member of Parliament, Ratu Suliano Matanitobua in Suva. Photo: Ashna Kumar

A Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) financial investigator has testified that she did not check whether the person certifying Tui Namosi’s claimed documents, was the proper authority.

This is in the trial of SODELPA Member of Parliament, Ratu Suliano Matanitobua.

Matanitobua, is charged by FICAC with one count of false information to a public servant and one count of obtaining financial advantage.

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

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

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.

The trial is presided over by Judge, Justice Thushara Kumarage, at the Anti-Corruption High Court in Suva.

FICAC financial investigator Vasiti Matadigo testified in the cross-examination that Adi Litia Qionibaravi had certified the 24 payment claims filed by Matanitobua.

She further stated that Ms Namosimalua had authorised the payments.

Matanitobua’s lawyer Filimoni Vosarogo asked the witness if she found out whether those who had been certifying the documents were in the proper authority to do so.

Ms Matadigo said she did not check.

Mr Vosarogo asked the witness if she agreed that on the guideline of the Parliamentary  Remuneration Act, the Government whip or the Opposition whip were the ones authorised to certify any process of claims.

Ms Matadigo agreed with the statement.

Mr Vosarogo questioned the witness whether any of the 24 claims were signed off or certified by the Opposition whip.

Ms Matadigo said no.

She also testified in court that Matanitobua was also entitled to
committee sitting allowances.

Mr Vosarogo questioned the witness about her part in the investigation.

Ms Matadigo told the court that she was involved in the financial
investigations after Matanitobua was charged by FICAC.

In her examination, Ms Matadigo told the court that as per Matanitobua’s Bank of the South Pacific (BSP) transaction details, $800 was being directly paid to the Public Service Commission for housing rent.

She told the court that the transactions were made direct from Matanitobua’s account to the commission’s BSP account.

She further testified that the rent deduction had been paid since
August 2019.

Following the end of Ms  Matadigo’s evidence,
FICAC commissioner and senior counsel, Rashmi Aslam, called his next witness from the iTaukei Affairs Board, however, the witness was not present in court.

Mr Aslam sought a bench warrant to be issued by the court.

Justice Kumarage said if the  witness was present, the prosecution would have closed its case in the trial.

Justice Kumarage  issued a bench warrant on the witness and adjourned the matter to this morning.
Feedback: ashna.kumar@fijisun.com.fj

 

 



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