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Ruling Delivered for former Rotuma Council members

Media Team   |   03 Jun 2020

The No Case to Answer ruling was delivered in the Nausori Magistrates Court yesterday in the case involving three (3) former members of the Council of Rotuma.


Former Chairman of the Council, Mr Tarterani Rigamoto, was charged by the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) with one (1) count each of Abuse of Office - Obtaining a Gain and Giving Information Derived from False Documents.


Similarly, the former secretary of the council, Ms Sainimeli Tivao was charged with a count of Aiding and Abetting, while Mr Penaminio Tavo was charged with Giving False Information.


In delivering the Ruling, Resident Magistrate Mr Lasitha Chaminda found that there was a case to answer for Mr Rigamoto and Ms Tivao due to the evidence elicited at the trial.


It is alleged that while serving as the Chairman of the Council of Rotuma, Mr Rigamoto caused the investment of the council with Fijian Holdings Unit Trust to be the security for a REMCOL loan amounting to $250,000.00 without the Council’s approval, therefore, prejudicing them.


He is further alleged to have given false information to the Merchant Finance Limited that the Council of Rotuma had unanimously agreed to support REMCOL in their application for financial assistance and to be the Guarantor for the above-mentioned loan.


He is alleged to have derived this information from the minutes of the Rotuma Council meeting, knowing that the information as false or misleading and did so with the intention to gain the loan from Merchant Finance.


Meanwhile, Ms Tivao is alleged to have helped Mr Rigamoto by backing up the claims made by him to Merchant Finance.


These offences are alleged to have taken place between June 2016 and March 2017.


Mr Tavo was acquitted accordingly with the Resident Magistrate ruling that there was no evidence placed before the court by the prosecution that is viable and credible enough to show that he had a case to answer.


The matter was adjourned to 5 June 2020 to be called before the Chief Magistrate to set a date for the continuation of the hearing in Rotuma.