Six former employees of the Public Works Department Divisional Engineer Central Eastern (PWD DECE) and a businessman have been handed down prison sentences for corruption related offences.
The seven accused persons appeared before Justice Thushara Rajasinghe in the Suva High Court today.
The Imprisonment Sentences are as follows:
Ms. Ana Laqere – Ten (10) years with a non – parole period of eight (8) years.
Ms. Amelia Vunisea – Eight (8) years with a non – parole period of six (6) years.
Ms. Laisa Halafi – Nine (9) years and eleven (11) months with a non – parole period of seven (7) years and eleven (11) months.
Ms. Vaciseva Lagai – Eight (8) years with a non – parole period of six (6) years.
Ms. Vilisi Tuitavuki – Eight (8) years with a non- parole period of six (6) years.
Mr. Kiniviliame Taviraki – Six (6) years with a non – parole period of four (4) years.
Mr. Shelveen Narayan – Four (4) years with a non – parole period of three (3) years.
The Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) charged the former employees of PWD; Ana Laqere, Amelia Vunisea, Laisa Halafi, Vaciseva Lagai, Vilisi Tuitavuki and Kiniviliame Taviraki in 2013.
It was proven that the six former PWD DECE employees, in abuse of their office dishonestly caused a loss to the Public Works Department to the total sum of $362,944.37 from March to August 2010.
The former employees did arbitrary acts for the purpose of gain in facilitating the processing of false payments to be made to three companies namely, Ontime Stationery Supplies, Shavel Stationery Supplies and Phoenix Hardware Engineering and General Supplies Ltd, which were owned by Shelveen Narayan.
Shelveen Narayan pleaded guilty to one (1) count of obtaining a Financial Advantage for the sum of $362,944.37 before the trial for the six former PWD DECE employees proceeded in February 2017. As stated earlier, Narayan was sentenced to four (4) years imprisonment with a non-parole period of three (3) years.
Mr. Rashmi Aslam, Ms. Anaseini Lomani and Ms. Laite Bokini-Ratu appeared for prosecution during the trial while Mr. Aseri Vakaloloma appeared for Ana Laqere, Laisa Halafi, Amelia Vunisea and Kiniviliame Taviraki.
Ms. Priya Lal and Mr Namrata Mishra, both from the Legal Aid Commission represented Vaciseva Lagai and Vilisi Tuitavuki respectively.
Mr.Pita Niubalavu represented Shelveen Narayan.