A former Fijian Ambassador and diplomat was charged and produced in the Suva Magistrates Court today.
The Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) charged Mr Solo Mara with one (1) count each of Obtaining a Financial Advantage and Causing a Loss under the Crimes Act of 2009.
He is alleged to have caused payments to be made to himself from the Washington Embassy funds amounting to USD$18,700.19, which is equivalent to FJD$38,481.17 between September 2016 and October 2017, whilst serving as the Fijian Ambassador to the United States of America (USA).
These amounts were allegedly paid through 15 payment vouchers between 1st September 2016 and 31st October 2017.
It is alleged that the Accused had used various official engagements and opportunities to obtain these financial advantages from the Embassy funds.
These included fully sponsored events by hosting agencies, whereby, despite these sponsorships, the Accused had allegedly re-claimed the amounts for his air tickets and per diems in breach of the Finance Manual of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Public Service (Diplomatic and Consular Services) Regulation, Finance Instructions 2010 and other related circulars issued by the Ministry.
FICAC State Counsel Mr Darren Hickes appeared for Prosecution and informed the Court that first phase disclosures had already been served.
He also requested the Court to impose strict bail conditions on the Accused.
Chief Magistrate Mr Usaia Ratuvili released the Accused on bail and instructed him not to interfere with witnesses, to surrender all travel documents and to report to the FICAC office every Friday.
A Stop Departure Order was also issued.
The matter was adjourned to 28 May 2020.