Thursday, April 14, 2011

Patel and Mau Handed Prison Sentences

Fiji Village News - 14 April 2011

Former Post Fiji Limited Chairman, Mahendra Patel (left) and former Managing Director, Peni Mau (above right) have both been handed down prison sentences by High Court Judge, Justice Daniel Goundar in the last hour.

Patel has been sentenced to 12 months imprisonment while Mau has been sentenced to 9 months imprisonment.

Justice Goundar stated that he had considered that he will not hand down suspended sentences to both Patel and Mau.

Mau has been convicted for approving the purchase of an external Seiko clock for $75,000 from Prouds Fiji without following proper procedures and without the approval of the Post Fiji board.

Patel is convicted for allowing the purchase of the Seiko clock from Prouds, a company owned by him and failing to disclose his interest and relationship with the company.

The abuse of office charge carries a maximum sentence of three years imprisonment.

Following the sentencing, Mau’s defence lawyer, Devinesh Sharma and Patel's defence counsel, Hamendra Nagin stood up and applied for bail pending appeal.

However Justice Goundar told the lawyers that he cannot grant them bail because the defence have to appeal first and the Appeals Court has to listen to their submission on the grounds for bail.

Sharma who has also made applications for the recusal of the judge and a retrial said in court that architect and FICAC witness, Adish Naidu was negotiating with Motibhai on the clock on his own accord and there is no evidence that his client, Peni Mau was involved in the discussions.

Sharma said that the judge has convicted Mau but according to the constitution there is a statutory protection for a fair trial. 

He said that he is appealing the conviction and sentence within the next few days.

Sharma's application for the recusal of the judge and a retrial will be heard by Justice Goundar at 10.30am tomorrow.

Patel and Mau are now held in the cell block at the Suva courthouse and will be taken to Korovou Prison later this afternoon. 

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