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Prakash Allegedly Received Over $400 Allowance Per Day

Former Government back- bencher, Vijendra Prakash, was receiving more than $400 in allowance while attending Parliament, the High Court in Suva heard yesterday. This was revealed when former acting secretary
28 Sep 2022 08:40
Prakash Allegedly Received Over $400 Allowance Per Day
Former Member of Parliament Vijendra Prakash outside Court. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Former Government back- bencher, Vijendra Prakash, was receiving more than $400 in allowance while attending Parliament, the High Court in Suva heard yesterday.

This was revealed when former acting secretary general of Parliament Viniana Namosimalua testified during Day 5 of Prakash’s trial.

She said Prakash was receiving at least $350 for accommodation allowance, $30 per meal and a minimum of $90 for transport allowance – this was for 30 cents per kilometre.

 

She said he was also receiving an allowance of $200 a day while attending standing committee meetings and overseas allowances.

She also said he was receiving all these benefits apart from his $50,000 pay annually.

Ms Namosimalua said Prakash had started receiving these benefits after he was elected into Parliament after the 2018 General Election.

 

Ms Namosimalua was the prosecution witness during the trial which is presided over by the Anti-Corruption High Court Judge Justice Dr Thushara Kumarage.

Ms Namosimalua said the Parliament had conducted pre-swearing in ceremony induction at the Grand Pacific Hotel before the new term began in 2018.

She said that at the ceremony, she explained to the Members of Parliament that when they took the oath on November 26, they were pledging to carry out their duties in accordance with the law.

 

In the witness box, she said they had also conducted a workshop in December to explain to the Members of Parliament their entitlements.

She said the repercussion of abusing parliamentary funds was not discussed during the workshop as she never dreamt Members of Pariament would abuse it.

She also wrote a letter to them outlining conditions of the allowances. She said MPs who claimed subsistence allowances were required to sign the parliamentary declaration form, they could obtain it after signing the form.

 

Ms Namosimalua said an MP was entitled to claim for the allowances if they lived 30 kilometres away from the Parliament Chambers.

She said the declaration form required MPs to state their permanent residence, bank details and other personal information.

Prakash is standing trial for allegedly giving false information about his residence to the secretary-general of Parliament while claiming parliamentary allowances.

He is alleged to have falsely stated that his permanent place of residence was in Waidracia, Vunidawa, Nabuni, Naluwai, Naitasiri, and allegedly obtained $33,670 between August 2019 and March 2020.

 

Story By: Nacanieli Tuilevuka

Feedback: nacanieli@fijisun.com.fj



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