Monday, November 01, 2010

No Case to Answer in Tu Saki's Political Witch Hunt by Fiji Military Regime

Having penned my thoughts (to the right) about this case last week, I can only wish Tu Saki, his wife and their family the very best as they begin to repair their life after being found not guilty of all the trumped up charges.

Yet we could only feel sad at how this sorry episode in the life of a committed son of Fiji could have come about. How a vindictive military and its leadership could have targeted him simply because of who he is and his role in the previous legal government of Fiji?

To be made to suffer all these years in the way he and his wife were, points out the depth of hatred and vindictiveness in the Fiji military, especially its leader Bainimarama. This is the man currently charged with Fiji's destiny. How hollow now are his aims for an equitable society when he and his illegal regime are all guilty of fanning hatred.

Tu Saki must now wait for his turn to obtain true justice when the illegal regime terrorizing the people of Fiji is booted out as they surely will, in the not too distant future.

Tuisolia walks

Shalveen Chand

Fiji Times - Tuesday, November 02, 2010
UNABLE to hold his tears back, former Airports Fiji Limited CEO Ratu Sakiusa Tuisolia was a happy man after being acquitted by the High Court in Suva yesterday.
Ratu Sakiusa was charged with three counts of fraudulent conversion and three of keeping fraudulent accounts in 2007.
The panel of assessors delivered a unanimous verdict after deliberating for half an hour. Justice Sitmbarampillay Thurairaja accepted the verdict of the assessors and acquitted Ratu Sakiusa accordingly.
He said to Ratu Sakiusa after delivering his judgement: "Although you have been acquitted, I have found that you acted irresponsibly in a very high position, Mr Tuisolia."
He left the courtroom with teary eyes as he hugged family members and shook hands with well-wishers.
"I am just happy with the outcome of the assessors,"he said.
"The last four years have been very tough for me and I do not wish this happening to anybody.
"I have maintained that I was innocent from day one and the law and the people of Fiji have given their decision. I have never done anything to abuse my position, in fact, I did my very best to run AFL. During my time as CEO, I made $13million profit for AFL.
"When I joined in 2003, AFL had made a $2million loss, the previous year. In my first year, I turned things around to make a profit of $1.5million and since then AFL has never made a loss."
He said he planned to move on and join his wife and child in Manila.

Tu Saki a Free man
Fiji Village News - 01 November 2010

Former Airports Fiji Limited chief executive Ratu Sakiusa Tuisolia is a free man after he was acquitted of all six charges laid against him by FICAC just a few minutes ago.

At the end of the trial, the three assessors came back with a unanimous decision of not guilty on the three counts of fraudulent conversion and three counts of keeping false accounts.

Soon after, High Court judge Justice Sitambarrampillai Thurairaja concurred with the assessors and acquitted Tuisolia of all charges.
After the acquittal, Tuisolia said he will now move on with his life and he will join his wife in Manilla.

Sai's Comments:
  • Anyone following this case will inevitably have to conclude, well before it is even decided, that it is no more than a political witch hunt by the military regime and persecution of a honest career civil servant. 
  • Tu Saki is known to some of us as a smart and knowledgeable son of Fiji who have only the best of motives in serving the government and public. He has no underlying motive to defraud his employer which would be at a great expense to his integrity and credibility. He has far more to lose than gain and smart people don't just throw away their livelihood in such a manner.
  • No wonder the prosecution has been clutching at straws to nail him with any evidence to support the unjustified charges, let alone the numerous delays in the case. It did not dare call any AFL senior manager or board member as they would just destroy its case that they were no fraud committed by Tu Saki. Yet they persisted as we all know they must, as the prerogative of the military regime, that is holding the people of Fiji to ransom.
  • The career and most importantly, self respect, of a dedicated civil servant and chief, has been irretrievably tarnished at the instigation of the military in Fiji. They were hell bent from the start to nail him as someone closely associated with the legal Qarase government.
  • Such is the depth of hatred now prevalent in Fiji, even among fellow Fijians, as a direct result of the culture of greed, thievery and  lies ushered in by the current military regime led by Voreqe Bainimarama.

Critical Witnesses not called in Tuisolia Case 

FIJI VILLAGE NEWS - 29 October 2010

Serious concerns have been raised by the defence counsel for former Airports Fiji Limited CEO Ratu Sakiusa Tuisolia that critical witnesses were not called to give evidence in the case and highlighted flaws in the charges laid against his client.

While making his closing submissions this morning Laywer Devinesh Sharma stated that FICAC did not call the General manager Finance, the former AFL Chairman, any other board member or the current CEO to give evidence in the case to prove that expenses incurred by Tuisolia on the AFL credit card were infact unauthorized.

He said FICAC had initially listed two board members and the current CEO as witnesses but they were not called to the stand as these people would show that his client had done nothing wrong.

Sharma said while it is alleged that Tuisolia abused the credit card and defrauded AFL, there has not been any evidence that AFL was defrauded or that Tuisolia had intent to defraud AFL. 

He said it is seriously damaging to the defence case when crucial witnesses are not called.

He stressed that the then acting Manager Finance of AFL was responsible to overlook payments and prepare audit reports and he would have been able to tell the court that all transactions by Tuisolia was authorized and that AFL was reimbursed by Tuisolia for all personal expenses incurred on the credit card. He said this witnesses was pivotal to the credit card transactions.

He highlighted to the assessors that AFL's accounts and finances were scrutinized, approved and certified by two very renown audit firms, G. Lal and KPMG for 2004,2005 and 2006 when Tuisolia is alleged to have committed the offence. 

Sharma said the audit reports were also endorsed by the board and if there were any discrepancies found, they would have questioned Tuisolia at the time.

Sharma said that FICAC also failed to disclose all necessary documents as they claimed that the documents are missing. He said no one was called to court to verify which documents are missing and how it was misplaced as it was FICAC's duty to protect the relevant documents taking into account that this was a documentary trial.

He then moved on to the fact that credit card transactions are listed under Office Supplies in AFL=s General Ledger entries which catches all payments. 

He stressed that Tuisolia was not responsible to enter the data nor did he create the categories for listing of payments as this was done by the finance team.

Sharma said there was no evidence that Tuisolia directed or influenced any finance staff to add the credit card transactions into Office Supplies payments as being alleged by FICAC.

He called on the assessors to consider this fact and that FICAC has not proved its case beyond reasonable doubt and find his client not guilty on all charges. 

He stressed that a man’s liberty is at stake and they must weigh the evidence carefully before reaching a decision.

The case is adjourned to Monday for FICAC to make closing submission.

Story by: Roneel Lal

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    Anonymous said...

    'Tu Saki was targeted for 2 reasons!

    The first was that it was on his orders that Qarase was flown out of the military hands to Mavana early on that December morning back in 2006. Embarrassing Frank like that made him a prime target for "payback" - no matter how long it took.

    The 2nd was that because of his marriage to, and child with, Imrana Jalal, and because of their professional career excellence, and high standing in the community, their family was a prime candidate to be a symbol of political hope in Fiji.

    Unfortunately for them, this made them dangerous future political rivals in the public mind and heart to Bai, the Mara/Ganilaus, and the "hollow" multi-racial championship persona that they have been trying to assume during the post-coup period.

    So why not use the post-coup lack of judicial independence to "bury" potential political rivals and tarnish their reputation while you have the chance. Good enough for Qarase and Chaudhry, good enough for anyone.

    Sai Lealea said...

    @ Anonymous,
    there is something very chilling about the manner in which the Fiji military exacts revenge on its opponents. Surely, this cannot be the military the people of Fiji can ever be proud of again. It can only strengthen the case to reduce its size and role when Fiji returns to democratic rule.

    Its current leadership have turned it into a thuggish outfit instead of a professional organisation it once was.