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Former MP Prakash Denies Evidence Claims

Vijendra Prakash 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.
18 Oct 2022 10:28
Former MP Prakash Denies Evidence Claims
Former FijiFirst Member of Parliament Vijendra Prakash outside the Anti-Corruption High Court in Suva on October 17, 2022. Photo: Ashna Kumar

Former FijiFirst Member of Parliament Vijendra Prakash has told the Anti-Corruption High Court that he did not lie when he gave his evidence in chief.

This is after the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) Commissioner Rashmi Aslam put to Prakash that he lied about his evidence.

Prakash is charged by FICAC with one count each of false information to a public servant and obtaining financial advantage in breach of the Parliamentary Remunerations Act of 2014.

Prakash 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.

 

The trial is presided by the Anti-Corruption High Court Judge Justice Dr Thushara Kumarage.

Prakash said he was never informed by the Parliament Secretariat that his claim forms for allowances were filled incorrectly.

He denied lying that he gave any false information to the Parliament Secretariat while his meal allowance and travel claims were filled by Parliament finance officer Sarwesh Narayan.

He told the court he did not lie to the court when he said Mr Narayan was the one who corrected the allowance claims forms for him.

He also claimed that Mr Narayan knew where Prakash was traveling from as he was aware of the Serea, Naitaisiri area.

 

Prakash claimed that most of the time he sat with Mr Narayan while Mr Narayan filled the travel and meal forms for him and at other times, he gave information to Mr Narayan to fill it for him.

He also claimed that every time he signed the form, he signed it in front of Mr Narayan as he thought it was necessary.

He said he had informed Mr Narayan that he would be traveling from Vunidawa to the Parliament and back.

Prakash said once Mr Narayan had filled his forms, he would check the form and correct where it was necessary.

Mr Aslam asked Prakash whether he knew the information better than Mr Narayan.

Prakash said yes.

 

Mr Aslam asked Prakash if he was ignorant to do the verifications of the claims.

Prakash said he was not ignorant and that he was making use of the salary Mr Narayan was receiving by seeking assistance from Mr Narayan to fill his forms.

He said the forms were available with Mr Narayan and he sought his assistance to ensure he did not breach anything.

Prakash claimed that the reason he went to Mr Narayan was because the Government officer was busy or available to assist him.

Mr Aslam asked Prakash if he had never accommodated himself in Suva and had returned to Naitasiri.

 

Prakash said yes he returned to Serea.

Mr Aslam suggested to Prakash that he was lying since he never put the claims across to Mr Narayan when he was on stand to give evidence.

Prakash disagreed and said if he was told not to claim for the allowance, he would not have claimed.

He also said that at times he had travelled to Navua to his relatives and attended Parliament the next morning.

Mr Aslam asked Prakash of the number of times he had travelled to Navua out of the 20 claims he had filed.

Prakash said he did not remember.

 

He said he believed the claims were right and that the other MPs had agreed to the claims as well.

Prakash claimed that no one had in- formed him that he was doing the wrong thing.

Mr Aslam put to Prakash that the corrections on the forms were not done by Mr Narayan but was done by one named Ajnesh and the initials of Ajnesh were marked next to the corrections.

He asked Prakash that with honesty, this was not done by Mr Narayan.

Prakash disagreed saying it was someone from the Parliament Secretariat office who did the corrections.

 

Story by: ashna.kumar@fijisun.com.fj



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