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Hearing Date to be Set for Rabuka Trial

Media Team   |   27 Jul 2018

The hearing date for the trial involving the former Fijian Prime Minister will be decided on 13 August 2018.


Mr. Sitiveni Rabuka is currently facing two (2) charges laid on him by the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) in May and July of this year.


The first one being, "Providing False Declaration of Assets, Income and Liabilities" under the Political Parties (Registration, Conduct, Funding and Disclosures) Act No. 4 of 2013 and the second one, "Breach of Bail" under the Bail Act of 2002.


FICAC Prosecutor Mr. Rashmi Aslam informed the court that the Voir dire and substantive matter could be heard together with short breaks.


Earlier, Mr. Filimoni Vosarogo, who represents Mr. Rabuka,questioned the formulation of the first charge whereby three (3) particular transactions were put into one (1) charge when they would each have different justifications.


To this, Mr. Aslam responded that this was to avoid duplicity and if the Defence thinks that it would interfere with the process of a fair trial, prosecution would consider separate charges.


Mr. Vosarogo also informed the court that they would be engaging the services of a Queen’s Counsel who will be appearing on the next date.


Regarding his second charge, FICAC expressed reservations at putting the matter aside to focus on the first charge as they are two separate cases with lesser time needed for hearing as the two cases can be heard simultaneously.


Mr. Vosarogo then explained that the hearing of the substantive matter should be first as if that charge is unable to be proven by Prosecution, there would be no case to answer for the second charge.


Resident Magistrate Mr. Jioji Boseiwaqa extended bail for Mr. Rabuka and adjourned the matter to 13 August 2018.


Background:


On the first charge, Mr. Rabuka is alleged to have in 2017, provided a false declaration of assets and liabilities to the Supervisor of Elections by failing to provide information pertaining to the tax liability with the Fiji Revenue and Customs Services (FRCS) which amounted to $316,956.20FJD.


He also allegedly failed to declare the Investment and interest income with Ragwhan Constructions Limited in the amount of $200,000FJD and $16,000FJD respectively and also the liability in the amount of $120,000FJD.


Regarding the second charge, he is alleged to have approached and interfered with a witness connected with his first charge, which was a condition imposed by the court whilst granting him bail initially.


He pleaded not guilty to both charges.