The former Media Liaison Officer at the Ministry of Works, Transport and Public Utilities was acquitted in the Suva Magistrates Court today.
The Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption had charged Sainiana Waqainabete with nine (9) counts of Obtaining a Financial Advantage by Deception, namely, obtaining financial advantage from several private contractors of the PWD, the Ministry as it then was, by falsely stating that the line Minister Timoci Natuva had been requesting sponsorship and financial assistance from them in 2012.
In delivering her Judgment, Resident Magistrate, Waleen George said evidence obtained from the former Minister for Works, Transport and Utilities, Timoci Natuva stated that he in fact encouraged Waqainabete to source funds from private contractors and other sources outside of the Ministry to fund work related events.
Moreover, she stated that after considering the evidence given by him, it was clear that he could not clearly remember whether or not he had given specific directions to the Accused to obtain funds from private contractors.
In referring to the cross-examination conducted by Defence, the Resident Magistrate found that it was clear the former Minister may have given the Accused verbal instructions in respect of each and every count.
Furthermore, Magistrate George deliberated that it cannot be said that the Accused knew or believed she was presenting a falsehood as truth and a reasonable person would not find her representations to be dishonest.
Therefore the Court acquitted the Accused.