Saturday, November 28, 2009

FICAC wants to change Qarase’s charges

Former Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase - 28 November 2009

The Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) yesterday made an application in the Suva High court to consolidate charges against former Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase and Former Manager of Native Land Trust Board Kalivati Bakani.

The matters relate to the alleged approval of investment of extinct mataqali funds to various financial institutions by Qarase and Bakani without following proper procedures.

Together with this FICAC lawyer Aca Rayawa also made an application before Justice Daniel Goundar to substitute Qarase's charge from abuse of office to seven counts of fraudulent conversion.

Qarase's lawyer, Qoriniasi Bale than said FICAC's move is shocking as they had prepared for the trial to commence and this matter will further delay the proceedings.

To this, Justice Goundar said law permits for the substitution of charges and he can’t stop FICAC from doing it.

Justice Goundar than granted FICAC leave to withdraw Qarase's existing charges and substitute it with new charges by 2pm today.

Justice Goundar than told Bale to first go through the new charges after which he can come up with his submission on the matter relating to the consolidation of charges.

The case has been adjourned to the 19th of January next year for mention.

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