The former Land Acquisition Officer with the Water Authority of Fiji (WAF) responsible for a loss of over three hundred thousand dollars was sentenced to six (6) years imprisonment in the Suva High Court today.
Mr Laisiasa Valesu was charged by the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) in 2018 with one (1) count each of Abuse of Office, Forgery, and Obtaining a Financial Advantage.
He admitted to facilitating 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 him to obtain $334,496.18 FJD between June 2013 and May 2016.
He had earlier denied the charges but changed his plea before the case was to go for trial.
In delivering his Sentence, High Court Judge Justice Mr Daniel Gounder said that Mr Valesu had engaged in a premeditated defrauding of his employer for a period of four years involving a significant amount of money.
He further emphasized that the Accused grossly breached the trust of his employer and the public by diverting funds that was assigned for improving public service for his own benefit.
Mr Valesu was charged alongside Mr Pauliasi Waite who is charged with Aiding and Abetting Obtaining a Financial Advantage and who is alleged to have acquired $26,402.38 FJD in the process.
He has denied the charges and his case is still before the High Court.
Mr Valesu also has another case similar in nature, also still pending before the Court.