The Suva High Court today sentenced two (2) former Public Works Department (PWD) employees to six (6) years imprisonment.
Ms. Amelia Vunisea and Ms. Laisa Halafi, who are already serving inmates, were charged by the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) with one (1) count each of "Abuse of Office", with twelve (12) and thirteen (13) counts of "Causing a Loss" respectively in 2017.
The two, who pled guilty, had facilitated the processing of false payments to Professional Stationeries which resulted in PWD losing $34,236.77 in 2010.
In delivering the Sentence, Justice Mr. Salesi Temo said the actions of the two was a serious breach of their employer’s trust and was a well planned derogation of duty.
He emphasized that their failure to perform their duties honestly made PWD unable to serve the public faithfully, and for that, they would pay by losing their liberty.
Furthermore, Justice Temo stated that the two deliberately disobeyed PWD’s procurement procedure rules by “short circuiting” the system in ensuring the payments to Professional Stationeries even though the goods and services were not supplied.
He dictated that the Sentence given is concurrent to the prison sentence they are currently serving.
Ms. Vunisea and Ms. Halafi were convicted and sentenced to eight (8) and nine (9) years and eleven (11) months respectively last May for corruption offences also committed against PWD.
Thirty (30) days was given for Appeal.
Regarding the remaining eight (8) Accused who pled Not Guilty, the matter has been adjourned to 5 October 2018 for Pre-Trial Conference, with Justice Temo ordering the Prosecution and Defence to meet on 1 October 2018 to work out the agreed facts and bundle of documents to be used in Trial.