LAWYERS in the case of Fiji National Provident Fund former CEO Olota Rokovunisei said they were unable to find case authority locally with regards to extortion, the High Court in Suva heard.
Yesterday, High Court judge Justice Priyantha Fernando convicted Rokovunisei of one count of extortion by public officer and a second count of abuse of office.
Defence lawyer Samanunu Vaniqi requested until Monday for mitigation, saying she had asked the accused to provide three character letters.
She told the court that she would file a written submission and would call two character referees to the stand in the mitigation hearing.
Justice Fernando told the parties to prepare their sentencing submissions.
Ms Vaniqi said she would need to look at overseas cases because she could not find any locally.
This was confirmed by Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption lawyer Shalini Sanmogam.
On the first count, while employed as the FNPF general manager and chief executive officer of FNPF, Rokovunisei accepted $22,773.18 on September 6, 2006 for performance of his duties, a reward which was allegedly beyond his proper pay and emoluments. On the second count of abuse of office, Mr Rokovunisei authorised a $20,000 per annum as responsibility allowance to the then FNPF deputy general manager Foana Nemani.
Justice Fernando in his judgment upheld the unanimous guilty opinion of the assessors.
Referring to the first count Justice Fernando said Rokovunisei was an executive of 20 years and was CEO for almost six years.
"He has wealth of experience on administration and what he says that he believed that he was entitled to this allowance cannot be a reasonable and honest belief and therefore he cannot be absolved from criminal responsibility on the basis of mistaken fact," Justice Fernando said.
On the second count, Justice Fernando said there were different types of gain, which included financial or political, and that gain could be obtained from others as well as personally. He said by the act of Rokovunisei in the second count, the gain was for Ms Nemani.
Justice Fernando said that once Rokovunisei was convicted, he was to be remanded until sentencing.
Mitigation and sentencing hearings will be heard on Monday.