Two (2) men involved in the alleged defrauding of the Water Authority of Fiji (WAF) had their case transferred to the High Court today.
Former WAF Land Acquisition Officer Mr. Laisiasa Valesu faces one (1) count each of Abuse of Office, Forgery and Obtaining a Financial Advantage alongside his accomplice Mr. Pauliasi Waite who is charged with a count of Aiding and Abetting Obtaining a Financial Advantage.
The men were charged by the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) last June with these offences which amounted to $334.496.18 FJD.
In delivering his Ruling, Resident Magistrate Mr. Asanga Bodaragama said that the alleged crimes forming the basis of the charges is substantial and deemed to be public funds and that if found guilty, the men would face a considerable period of custodial terms.
Furthermore, he said that the nature of the offences committed bore a serious effect on the general public and that the High Court would be better suited to hear such a complex and lengthy case.
The matter was adjourned to 8 March 2019 in the High Court.
It is alleged that Mr. Laisiasa Valesu facilitated the processing of false payments as claims for Crop and Land Compensation for the Muanikau 5G Project and Nabukalou Project using forged Crop Compensation forms and Easement Agreements.
The forged documents were used to induce WAF public officials who accepted it as genuine and enabled the Accused to obtain $334.496.18 FJD between June 2013 and May 2016.
The second Accused is alleged to have helped the first Accused and acquired $26,402.38 FJD in the process.