Trial dates were set and a not guilty plea entered in the two (2) cases involving a former Fijian Ambassador and diplomat in the Suva Magistrates Court yesterday.

Solo Mara was first charged by the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) in January with one (1) count each of Disobedience of Lawful Order and False Information.

Yesterday, the trial dates for this matter was set to be heard from 26 to 28 October this year, after he pleaded not guilty to the charges in May.

FICAC State Counsel Mr Darren Hickes informed the Court that Prosecution will be calling 10 witnesses and have 9 documents while Defence Counsel Mr Sharoneel Deo confirmed that Mr Mara will be their only witness for the trial.

It is alleged that he refused to comply with a Search Warrant issued by the Court under the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption Act and is further alleged to haven given false or misleading information to a FICAC officer.

In his second matter, Mr Mara was charged by FICAC in April with one (1) count each of Obtaining a Financial Advantage and Causing a Loss.

He also pleaded not guilty to the charges.

FICAC State Counsel Mr Darren Hickes informed the Court that Prosecution would not be relying on the Caution Interview for the second matter, as it contains no admissions.

It is alleged that Mr Mara caused payments to be made to himself from the Washington Embassy funds amounting to USD $18,700.19 or FJD $38,481.17 between September 2016 and October 2017, whilst serving as the Fijian Ambassador to the United States of America.

The first matter was adjourned to 26 October 2020 for trial with the second matter adjourned to 28 October to fix hearing dates.

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