NEWS

FICAC Case Against Radrodro Begins

The Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) has started its case against SODELPA Member of Parliament, Salote Radrodro at the Anti-Corruption High Court in Suva.
30 Jun 2022 16:39
FICAC Case Against Radrodro Begins
SODELPA Member of Parliament, Salote Radrodro, outside the Anti-Corruption High Court in Suva on June 29, 2022. Photo: Ashna Kuma

The Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) has started its case against SODELPA Member of Parliament, Salote Radrodro at the Anti-Corruption High Court in Suva.

FICAC charged Radrodro 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.

The allegations were brought by the former Parliament secretary-general, Viniana Namosimalua.

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 be- tween June 2019 and April 2020.

 

Permanent Stay Application Ruling:

Anti-Corruption High Court Judge Justice Thushara Kumarage ruled the permanent stay application filed by Radrodro’s lawyer, Simione Valenitabua, was without merit.

He said the prosecution had taken its proper course of action in the case and that this application was the fourth one filed by the defence to delay the start of the trial.

Justice Kumarage, said the trial had been delayed by three days because of the application and the court clearly saw this was an abuse of process.

He dismissed the application and proceeded to trial after awarding $500 as a cost imposed against the defence.

Mr Valenitabua said all dismissed applications would be taken up on appeal.

 

Prosecution’s Opening Statement:

FICAC Counsel, Joseph Work, in his opening statement told the court that Radrodro’s permanent residence and home was in Tacirua Heights, Suva, which was 7.5 kilometres away from the Parliament.

He said in her declaration form dated November 2018, Radrodro declared her permanent residence as Tacirua Heights, however, in her declaration form dated June 2019, she declared Namulomulo Village in Nabouwalu as her permanent residence.

Mr Work said Radrodro never permanently stayed at Namulomulo Village, however, made frequent visits.

He said MPs were expected to use taxpayers’ money with care.

 

Prosecution’s Witness 1

Executive Officer at the Registrar of Titles, Monita Ram, testified in court that she had provided FICAC with lease ownership details of two titles.

A native lease title was registered under Radrodro and Kitione Radrodro.

The term of the lease was for 99 years starting from January 1, 1987 and located at Tacirua Heights in Suva.

In cross-examination, Ms Ram testified that the lease was under tenancy in common which meant that Radrodro and Kitione Radrodro had a 50-50 per cent ownership.

 

Prosecution’s Witness 2

Senior Estate Officer at iTaukei Lands Trust Board, Sereana Tuisabeto, testified that native leases were for residential purposes and that Radrodro had a lease registered under her name alongside Kitione Radrodro situated at Tacirua Heights in the province of Naitasiri.

In cross-examination, Mr Valenitabua questioned the witness on whether Radrodro had applied for construction on the said lease/property to which Ms Tuisabeto said yes.

She also testified that the application was approved in December 1991.

 

Prosecution’s Witness 3

Political Parties Engagement officer at the Fijian Elections Office, Mesake Dawai, testified that any candidate nominated to contest the General Election was required to submit his/her assets and liabilities to the FEO by law, along with their residential addresses.

He said that Radrodro had declared that she resided at Tacirua Heights in Suva and declared Kitione Radrodro as her spouse.

During cross-examination, Mr Valenitabua questioned the witness whether the FEO had verified the information provided by the declarant.

Mr Dawai testified no because the declarants were required to submit the information according to law.

Mr Valenitabua questioned the witness whether there were any objections raised when Radrodro’s declarations were published or if FICAC or Parliament raised any objection to which Mr Dawai also responded no.

 

Feedback: ashna.kumar@fijisun.com.fj



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