The Suva High Court today delivered a 23 year Sentence to a man convicted of committing 11 white collar crimes involving approximately $4.1 million FJD.
Former Acting Deputy Official Receiver, Mr. Viliame Katia was charged by the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption in 2016 with four (4) counts of Forgery, three (3) counts of Abuse of Office and one (1) counts each of Embezzlement by Servant, False Information to Public Servant, Unauthorised Modification of Data and Obtaining a Financial Advantage.
High Court Judge Justice Mr. Salesi Temo highlighted five (5) aggravating factors which were the gross breach of employer’s trust, the repetitive and systematic breaches of procedure, the amount of money involved, the lack of restitution and the motivating factor of greed.
The Accused had engineered 1,415 fraudulent transactions over a period of seven (7) years and five (5) months resulting in his multi-million dollar unlawful gain.
Justice Temo said that the level of deceit and evil the Accused had perpetuated among his co-workers and supervisors to steal the money were the height of all evil.
Furthermore, he stated that a mockery was made of both the Official Receiver’s Office and the High Court as Katia had even pretended to be a judge issuing court orders.
He concluded that there was a need to punish the Accused in a manner that was just, in the interest of justice and to protect the community.
He also said that this Sentence would deter future would-be offenders from committing such crimes and showed that the court and community denounced Katia’s misdeeds.
Thirty (30) days was given for Appeal.
The Accused was convicted and sentenced last June to fourteen years imprisonment for eleven counts of corruption related offences which the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) charged him with.
In June this year, the Suva High Court ruled in favour of FICAC’s appeal on the grounds that the Magistrate misread and misapplied Section 190 of the Criminal Procedures Act of 2009 in delivering his Sentence and so ordered the transfer of the case to the High Court for re-sentencing.