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Court Dismisses Ex-MP Radrodro’s Motion In Arrest Of Judgment

The Anti-Corruption High Court has dismissed for­mer SODELPA Parliamen­tarian Salote Radrodro’s Motion in Arrest of Judgment.
22 Sep 2022 09:38
Court Dismisses Ex-MP Radrodro’s Motion In Arrest Of Judgment
Former SODELPA Member of Parliament Salote Radrodo (left) and former FijiFirst Member of Parliament Vijendra Prakash outside Court in Suva on September 21, 2022. Photo: Ronald Kumar

The Anti-Corruption High Court has dismissed for­mer SODELPA Parliamen­tarian Salote Radrodro’s Motion in Arrest of Judgment.

Radrodro has been found guilty and convicted of giving false in­formation to a public servant and of obtaining financial advantage.

Radrodro breached the Parlia­mentary Remuneration Act of 2014 when she claimed travel and accommodation allowances she was not entitled to amounting to $37,921.13 between June 2019 and April 2020.

 

She had falsely stated to the Par­liament in a Member of Parlia­ment declaration form that her permanent place of residence was in Namulomulo Village, Na­bouwalu, Bua, which was 30 kilo­metres away from the Parliament.

Radrodro, through her lawyer Simione Valenitabua, filed a Mo­tion in Arrest of Judgment seek­ing the following orders:

 

  • That Radrodro as convict­ed be discharged from the information upon which the court passed judgment against her on September 6 on the ground that the information as amended did not state any offence which the Anti-Corruption Division of the High Court, had power to try for the following reasons:

 

  • Radrodro as an MP is immune from legal proceedings pursuant to Section 3 of the Parliamentary Powers and Privileges Act 1965; and

 

  • Both offences in the information are summary offences triable in the Magistrates Court Anti-Corruption Division pursuant to Section 2 headed Interpretation and Section 4(1) (c) of the Criminal Procedure Act 2009.

 

  • And for any other order the court deemed just and expedient.

 

In his ruling, Anti-Corruption High Court Judge Justice Dr Thushara Kumarage said in com­prehending with the objective of this application, the court per­ceived that an application on the grounds of this nature should have been raised by the defence at the very inception before the start of the trial as preliminary objec­tions against the Information filed by Fiji Independent Commis­sion Against Corruption (FICAC) against Radrodro.

 

He said in assessing the trajec­tory of events in the trial against Radrodro, it was perceptible to this court that the Motion in Ar­rest of Judgment had been filed by the defence as the last resort to stop the proceedings in this mat­ter any further, pursuant to the conviction.

He said there was no special law to determine the criminality of conduct of parliamentarians in any jurisdiction.

 

The Judge said as per the stipu­lated provisions of the Fijian Constitution and the Criminal Procedure Act 2009, the High Court had the jurisdiction to hear any summary matter, as contem­plated in the information filed in this case.

He said this contention of the defence was devoid of any merit and as a consequence, dismissed the Motion in Arrest of Judg­ment prayed from this court in this matter.

 

As a consequence, the Judge acting under Section 150 (4) (b) of the Criminal Procedure Act 2009, the Court imposed a cost of $2500 against Radrodro.

Radrodro will be sentenced to­day.

 

Story By: Ashna Kumar

Feedback: ashna.kumar@fijisun.com.fj



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