News

MPs Charged for Fraudulent Conduct

Media Team   |   03 Dec 2020

Seven (7) Members of Parliament were today produced in the Suva Magistrates Court for the alleged obtaining of financial advantages in breach of the Parliamentary Remunerations Act of 2014.


The Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) charged Ratu Suliano Matanitobua, Salote Radrodro, Vijendra Prakash, Simione Rasova, Nikolau Nawaikula, Peceli Vosanibola and Adi Litia Qionibaravi with one (1) count each of False Information to Public Servant and Obtaining Financial Advantage.


They are alleged to have provided false information to the Acting Secretary General to the Parliament of Fiji regarding their permanent place of residence in order to have their allowance claims approved.


The seven (7) accused, comprised of six (6) members of the Opposition and one (1) member of Government are further alleged to have obtained financial advantages in varying amounts through these false claims for allowances from last July to April this year, which they were not eligible to receive.


Ratu Suliano Matanitobua is alleged to have falsely stated that his permanent place of residence was in Namosi village, Namosi and allegedly obtained $38,378.22 FJD between August 2019 and April 2020.


Salote Radrodro is alleged to have falsely stated that her permanent place of residence was in Namulomulo village, Nabouwalu, Bua and allegedly obtained $37,920.13 FJD between August 2019 and April 2020.


Vijendra Prakash is alleged to have falsely stated that his permanent place of residence was in Waidracia, Vunidawa, Nabuni, Naluwai, Naitasiri and allegedly obtained $33,670.00 FJD between August 2019 and March 2020.


Simione Rasova is alleged to have falsely stated that his permanent place of residence was in Nasenivolau, Nabouwalu village, Ono, Kadavu Island and allegedly obtained $21,350.00 FJD between July 2019 and April 2020.


Nikolau Nawaikula is alleged to have falsely stated that his permanent place of residence was in Buca village, Buca Bay and allegedly obtained $20,201.35 FJD between August 2019 and April 2020.


Peceli Vosanibola is alleged to have falsely stated that his permanent place of residence was in Navuloa village, Bureta, Ovalau, Lomaiviti and allegedly obtained $19,749.50 FJD between August 2019 and March 2020.


Adi Litia Qionibaravi is alleged to have falsely stated that her permanent place of residence was in Ucunivanua, Verata, Tailevu and allegedly obtained $15,480.00 FJD between August 2019 and April 2020.


It is alleged that a combined total of $186,749.20 FJD was claimed in allowances by these individuals over the specified time periods.


FICAC State Counsels Adrian Sharma, Joseph Work, Josanne Pene and Darren Hickes appeared for Prosecution and informed the Court that full phase disclosures had been served to all the Accused.


MP Prakash first appeared before Resident Magistrate Waleen George and was granted bail with a bail bond of $5,000.00 FJD and was informed that his next court appearance would be before the Chief Magistrate as his case was transferred to be heard alongside the other charged MPs.


The remaining MPs appeared before Chief Magistrate Usaia Ratuvili and were also granted bail with a bail bond of $700.00 FJD.


All the Accused were instructed to report to the Police Station nearest them on the last Friday of each month, to surrender their travel documents with a Stop Departure Order issued accordingly.


The matter was adjourned to 25 January 2021.


In June this year, FICAC confirmed receiving the initial complaint referred by the Acting Secretary General of Parliament regarding the alleged breach of the Parliamentary Remunerations Act of 2014. Thereafter, a second complaint was lodged by a faction of the Social Democratic Liberal Party of Fiji (SODELPA) also alleging similar breaches by their own members.