A former Tax Officer with the Fiji Revenue and Customs Service (FRCS) was convicted of bribery in the Suva Magistrates Court yesterday.
Pritam Singh was charged by the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) in 2015 with one (1) count of Bribery for accepting $1,200.00 FJD in cash and $6,300.00 FJD in cheque from a businessman.
At the time of the offence, he was employed as a Tax Officer with the Fiji Revenue and Customs (FRCS) and had solicited the bribe for assisting the businessman to clear his purported tax. He was arrested by the FICAC official whilst receiving the bribe, which amounted to $7,500.00 FJD.
He pleaded not guilty to the charge from the outset and the trial took place in the Magistrates Court of Suva.
The prosecution exhibited several audio and video recordings capturing the demanding and receiving of the bribe from the businessman. He also gave evidence in court.
In delivering the Judgment, Resident Magistrate Ms Deepika Prakash said that Prosecution proved each element of the offence beyond reasonable doubt and found him guilty as charged.
He was also recorded saying to the businessman that it was better to pay $21,000 than $100,000 when referring to the audit process and how much would supposedly have to be paid by the businessman, which further proved that Singh was willing to digress from his official duties and responsibilities if he received the money.
The matter was adjourned to 11 November 2020 for Sentencing and Mitigation submissions by both parties.