Two (2) former Water Authority of Fiji (WAF) staff and an accomplice appeared at the Suva Magistrates Court facing corruption related offences which resulted in the loss of $347,844.37FJD from WAF.
Mr. Laisiasa Valesu was charged by the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) with two (2) counts of “Abuse of Office”, two (2) counts of “Forgery” and two (2) counts of “Obtaining a Financial Advantage” under the Crimes Act of 2009 in two (2) separate cases.
For the first case, the former WAF Land Acquisition Officer is alleged to have, between June 2013 and May 2016, facilitated the processing of false payments in the amount of $334,496.18FJD as claims for Crop and Land Compensation for the Muanikau 5G Project and Nabukalou Project.
He is further alleged to have made false documents, namely Crop Compensation forms and Easement Agreements to dishonestly induce public officials of the WAF to accept them as genuine so as to obtain gains.
Valesu is also alleged to have purported that the above mentioned falsified documents were signed by the Land and Crop owners under the Suva Regional Sewerage Scheme and so obtained a financial advantage of $334.496.18FJD despite knowing he was not eligible to receive it.
FICAC also charged Mr. Pauliasi Waite Simione with one (1) count of “Aiding and Abetting Obtaining a Financial Advantage”.
He is alleged to have assisted Valesu in committing the offence of “Obtaining a Financial Advantage” and acquiring an advantage in the amount of $26,402.38FJD.
In the second case, it is alleged that between April and May 2016, Valesu enabled the processing of false payments amounting to $13,348.19FJD as claims for Crop Compensation for the Painapiu Sewerage Projects.
Valesu is alleged to have created false Crop Compensation forms in order to dishonestly induce officials at WAF to accept it as genuine to be able to obtain the gains from WAF for himself.
Furthermore, Valesu allegedly claimed that the above falsified documents were signed by Land and Crop owners under the Suva Regional Sewerage Scheme and so acquired the financial advantage of $13,348.19FJD even though he was not eligible to receive it.
In addition, FICAC has charged Ms. Vilimaina Kalokalo with one (1) count of Abuse of Office.
The former WAF Assistant Project Manager is alleged to have facilitated the processing of false payments in the amount of $13,348.19FJD as claims for Crop Compensation for the Painapiu Sewerage Project.
FICAC Prosecutors Mr. Sam Savumiramira appeared for the first case while Mr. Joseph Work appeared for the second case and informed the Court that first phase disclosures have already been served.
The three (3) individuals have been released on bail with a bail bond of $1000FJD with sureties and are to report to the FICAC Suva Office on the last Friday of every month.
A stop departure order has also been issued with the three (3) Accused also required to hand over all travel documents.
The matter has been adjourned to 20 June 2018 by Magistrate Mr. Asanga Bodaragama for the Ruling on transferring this matter to the High Court.
FICAC is further extending its investigations into other corrupt activities reported within WAF.