Former Nasinu Town Council employees and executives from four (4) companies fronted the Nasinu Magistrates Court today for the alleged defrauding of the Council involving over four hundred thousand dollars.
The Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) produced four (4) separate cases, charging eight (8) individuals with corruption-related offences spanning over five (5) years of alleged corrupt activity.
Former Information Technology Officer (ITO) with the Council and the first Accused, Mr Pauliasi Bainivalu was charged with Conspiracy to Defraud – Obtaining a Gain, Bribery, General Dishonesty – Causing a Loss and Destroying of Evidence and is alleged to have caused purchases to be made based on falsified quotations and local purchase orders from various companies.
He is alleged to have solicited $116,177.00 FJD and is alleged to have accepted $57,427.40 FJD in bribes from 2014 to 2019 resulting in losses to the Council.
Another former ITO, Mr Eliki Bula was charged with one (1) count of Bribery for allegedly soliciting $1,000.00 FJD from an employee of Innovation Technology PTE in 2014.
Employee of Innovation Technology PTE Mr Shiu Raman faces a count of Conspiracy to Defraud – Obtaining a Gain, Bribery, General Dishonesty – Causing a Loss and Destroying of Evidence.
Director of Innovation Technology PTE, Ms Razia Bibi was charged with a count of Aiding and Abetting Bribery for allegedly helping her employee commit the offence of Bribery by offering $2,066.40 FJD to the first Accused.
In this matter, $370,061.39 FJD is alleged to have been lost due to the actions of the four (4) individuals mentioned above from January 2014 to July 2019.
In the second case, Director of AK Investment Mr Diwakar Lal was charged with Conspiracy to Defraud – Obtaining a Gain, Bribery and Causing a Loss from June to September 2018.
He is alleged to have conspired with the first Accused and offered an advantage of $2000.00 FJD to him as an inducement or reward for him performing any act as a public servant.
In the third case, Director of Printzone Mr Vicky Vikash Kumar is charged with Conspiracy to Defraud – Obtaining a Gain, Bribery and Causing a Loss amounting to $37,029.00 FJD to the Nasinu Town Council from December 2017 to January 2019.
He is alleged to have offered the first Accused $7,400.00 as a bribe while trying to obtain a gain.
In the fourth case, Manager of Business Equipment Limited Ms Remal Chand and Director Ms Ranjani Chand are charged with two (2) counts of Bribery whereby a total of $2,661.00 FJD was exchanged between the ladies and the ITO Mr Bainivalu from September 2017 to May 2019.
The actions of all the Accused are alleged to have caused a total loss of $407,090.39 FJD to the Nasinu Town Council from 2014 to 2019.
FICAC State Counsels Mr Darren Hickes, Mr Adrian Sharma and Mr Joseph Work appeared for Prosecution in the respective cases and confirmed to the Court that first phase disclosures was served to all the Accused.
Resident Magistrate Mr Charles Ratakele released all the Accused individuals on bail with a bail bond of $5000.00 FJD.
A Stop Departure Order was also issued with the all the Accused warned not to reoffend and were instructed to surrender all travel documents and to report to the nearest Police Station twice a week.
The matter was adjourned to 23 June 2020.
In view of this case and others that FICAC have investigated and prosecuted, it is evident that corruption within the public procurement system is prevalent and must be addressed to prevent future corrupt activity in this process.
Therefore, the Commission, through its Corruption Prevention Department, as mandated through the FICAC Act, is in the process of preparing a comprehensive training program for those involved in public procurement including businesses that work with the Government.
FICAC is working with other relevant stakeholders to prepare this program, as well as a thorough monitoring system to ensure that not another cent of public funds is lost due to corruption.