Monday, July 16, 2012

Why Now When DPP Did Nothing 1992-2008 About the Qarase Allegations?


Qarase's lawyer then said that the Director of Public Prosecutions office who sanctioned this proceeding did nothing between 1992 to 2008. 

She said that there is no explanation what facts arose between that time, then in 2008 the DPP had a light bulb moment. 

Qarase with lawyer Draunidalo
Fiji Village News

A fair trial is possible and is happening.

Those were the words of FICAC Senior Counsel Michael Blanchflower while replying to former Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase's lawyer Tupou Draunidalo's application for a permanent stay on proceedings in relation to Qarase's Fijian Holdings trial today.

Draunidalo in her application this morning said that a fair trial is not possible as potential witnesses have passed away. 

She highlighted the death of former Chairman of Fijian Holdings Limited and Fiji Development Bank, Lyle Cupit and the death of former Minister of Finance, Josevata Kamikamica.

On this FICAC Senior counsel Michael Blanchflower replied that both Cupit and Kamikamica were not present in the FHL board meetings held on 27th December 1991 and 28th February 1992 where the board decided to allot shares to Mavana Investments, Cicia Plantation Co-op Society Limited, and Q-Ten Investments Limited. 

Referring to affidavits, court records and evidence given, Blanchflower said that in the four and half years since 2008 when Qarase was charged no attempts were made by the defence to locate other potential witnesses who are alive or could testify for the defence. 

He added that FICAC never received any application to locate any document that may assist the defence.

Blanchflower added that in early 2007, FICAC was established and in late 2007 this matter came to FICAC which took six to eight months to be investigated before Qarase was charged in 2008.

He stressed the defence did not ask any witnesses in the trial about missing witnesses and they never informed the court that there were undue delays.

While referring to the undue delay by police ever prosecuting Qarase, Blanchflower said that FICAC cannot be responsible what another law enforcement agency did or did not do.

Qarase's lawyer then said that the Director of Public Prosecutions office who sanctioned this proceeding did nothing between 1992 to 2008. 

She said that there is no explanation what facts arose between that time, then in 2008 the DPP had a light bulb moment. 

Draunidalo said that they are not blaming FICAC.

She also said that during cross examination, FICAC witness, Sitiveni Weleilakeba had said that Cupit was the main player. 

Draunidalo said that based on this, the unavailability of Cupit is a great disadvantage to Qarase. She adds delay in the case has caused loss of witnesses and impairment of memory.

High Court Judge Justice Priyantha Fernando will rule on notice.

Meanwhile Draunidalo is expected to file her submission in relation to their “no case to answer” application in the trial tomorrow morning. The grounds are not known at this stage.

Qarase is charged with 6 counts of abuse of office and three counts of discharge of duty with respect to property in which he has a private interest. It is alleged that Qarase applied, and then facilitated and allowed the purchase of Class A FHL shares for certain companies when he was Director of FHL, Financial Advisor of the Fijian Affairs Board and Advisor to the Great Council of Chiefs.

The case relates to the allotment and issuance of the FHL shares to Cicia Plantation Co-op Society Limited, Mavana Investments Limited and Q-Ten Investments Limited.
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