The Supreme Court yesterday dismissed the Appeal application of Mr. Keni Dakuidreketi.
In their deliberation, Justice Mr. Saleem Marsoof stated that the three (3) grounds used in the Petitioner’s application namely, Public Service, Intent and Excessive Sentence did not satisfy the criteria set out in Section 7(2) of the Supreme Court Act for the grant of leave to appeal.
On the first ground of Public Service, Justice Marsoof stood by the decision of the Court of Appeal.
Justice Marsoof said the authorities suggest that it is the nature of the duties and the level of public trust involved that are relevant, rather than the manner or nature of appointment.
Intent was the second ground whereby it was appealed that the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) was unable to establish that the acts carried out by Dakuidreketi carried criminal intent, which the Court also found unsubstantiated.
To this, Justice Marsoof highlighted the fact that Dakuidreketi, while part of the Boards for both Pacific Connex (PCX) and Vanua Land Development Corporation Limited (VDCL), was well aware and possessed the “requisite knowledge of the negative financial status of PCX” but failed to share this information with the iTaukei Land Trust Board (iTLTB, formerly Native Land Trust Board) or VDCL to prevent the losses eventually incurred.
Lastly, regarding the Excessive Sentence ground, the decision made by the Court of Appeal was reaffirmed by the Supreme Court.
“In my view, the Court of Appeal has dealt with the question of sentence very comprehensively and there is no impropriety or misapplication of the law,” Justice Marsoof said.
Dakuidreketi was charged by FICAC with five (5) counts of "Abuse of Office" which resulted in the loss of five (5) million dollars under his tenure at the iTLTB as their Director, as the Chairman of VDCL and as the Director of PCX.
He was sentenced to six (6) years imprisonment whereby he has currently served three (3) years and nine (9) months.