NEWS

Veivatuloa Village Headman Takes Stand To Defend Chief

The trial is presided by Judge Justice Thushara Kumarage at the Anti-Corruption High Court in Suva.
14 Jun 2022 14:55
Veivatuloa Village Headman Takes Stand To Defend Chief
SODELPA Member of Parliament Ratu Suliano Matanitobua outside the High Court in Suva on June 13, 2022. Photo: Ashna Kumar

Namosi Village land belongs to the Tui Namosi, who is Ratu Suliano Matanitobua, defence witness tells the court.

Defence first witness, Veivatuloa village headman Leone Naruwai testified in the case of Matanitobu’s trial at the Anti-Corruption High Court in Suva on Monday.

Matanitobua is charged by the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (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 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 by Judge Justice Thushara Kumarage at the Anti-Corruption High Court in Suva.

Mr Naruwai testified that he grew up with Matanitobua and had been to his residence many times in Veivatuloa.

He also testified that the land where Veivatuloa Village was situated at belonged to Matanitobua.

He also testified that Matanitobua had travelled to and from Veivatuloa to attend his engagements and Parliament sittings in Suva.

Mr Naruwai told the court that Matanitobua’s family resided in Namosi Village, however, he was brought up by a widow who was part of the chiefly household and a close family of Matanitobua.

He also testified in court that in 2017, there were plans made by Matanitobua to split the province, where his younger brother would look after Veivatuloa and Matanitobua would look after the other four tikinas.

Justice Kumarage questioned the witness whether Matanitobua, by tradition, could do that.

Mr Naruwai told the court that by tradition, Matanitobua had powers to split the tikinas.

Justice Kumarage also questioned the witness about how he knew about this decision.

Mr Naruwai told the court that he was present during the time when his Vunivalu (referring to Matanitobua) made the decision.

Feedback:  ashna.kumar@fijisun.com.fj

 

 



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