NEWS

Defence Lawyer Grills Former Acting Secretary General To Parliament

Radrodro is alleged to have falsely stated that her permanent place of residence was in Namulomulo Village, Nabouwalu, Bua, and allegedly obtained $37,921.13 between June 2019 and April 2020.
05 Aug 2022 17:25
Defence Lawyer Grills Former Acting Secretary General To Parliament
Viniana Namosimalua.

Viniana Namosimalua said it was convenient for a Member of Parliament to remain in Suva to attend to Parliament activities instead of travelling from outside because it saved funds.

The former acting secretary-general to Parliament was testifying in the case of SODELPA MP Salote Radrodro which was charged by with one count of giving false information to a public servant and one count of obtaining financial advantage.

She is alleged to have breached the Parliamentary Remuneration Act of 2014 when she claimed travel and accommodation allowances they were not entitled to.

 

Radrodro is alleged to have falsely stated that her permanent place of residence was in Namulomulo Village, Nabouwalu, Bua, and allegedly obtained $37,921.13 between June 2019 and April 2020.

The trial is presided by Anti-Corruption High Court Judge Justice Thushara Kumarage. Ms Namosimalua told the court that Radrodro’s travel expenses from Vanua Levu were paid by her and reimbursed by the Parliament.

Defence counsel Simione Valenitabua asked the witness whether Radrodro’s meals and accommodation were entitlements. Ms Namosimalua said yes.

She was also asked whether the transport was also an entitlement to which she responded that the MPs could claim for taxi fares mileage which was reimbursed by the Parliament to the MPs making claims.

She said there was a transport allowance for it as provided in the law.

 

Mr Valenitabua asked the witness if it was true that Parliament sittings were pre-determined. Ms Namosimalua said yes and that it was decided by the Business Committee. She said MPs could claim for parliament sitting and committee meetings only from all the parliamentary engagements if they lived beyond 30 kilometres away from Parliament.

Mr Valenitabua pointed out to the witness that Radrodro was living at Namulomulo Village in Bua prior to her letter stating she had relocated there as of June 9, 2019. Mobile phone records from a number registered to Radrodro were shown to Ms Namosimalua as part of the evidence.

Mr Valenitabua pointed out that in January 2020, three weeks of the month were filled by standing committee meetings.

 

He asked the witness whether an MP coming from an outer station was allowed to remain in Suva to attend to their Parliament activities instead of travelling back and forth.

Ms Namosimalua said it would be the most convenient thing to do. She also said it saved parliamentary funds but it was entirely up to the MP to do so.

Ms Namosimalua said she made allowances for MPs to stay back in Suva for family, church, and vanua commitments, provided they explained their extended stay in a letter addressed to the Parliament.

Otherwise they had to return to their stations. The trial continues.

 

Feedback: ashna.kumar@fijisun.com.fj



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.


Subscribe-to-Newspaper