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Fiji Time: 10:25 AM on Saturday 30 August

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$4 bribe lands man in jail for a year

Nanise Loanakadavu
Friday, February 01, 2013

A MAN who asked the court for forgiveness yesterday was warned against using his children as an excuse because his actions were clear that he did not care about anyone but himself.

Joeli Vunisa was convicted with one count of bribery and one of drunk driving and jailed for one year.

In court, he said his actions were completely out of character and begged the court to consider a lenient sentence.

On November last year, Vunisa was driving a taxi when he was stopped by police officer Gyaneshwar Pillay.

After Mr Pillay learned the accused was drunk, he (Vunisa) took out $4 from his wallet and offered it to the officer.

Magistrate Chaitanya Lakshman said bribery was rife in Fiji.

"This court is mindful that public interest demands that sentences on bribery must address the need for deterrence and to warn others," he said.

He said those involved in this type of offence looked down on the police and saw the system as one which could be toyed with.

Vunisa told the court he had three children who would be pursuing further education in tertiary institutions. However, Magistrate Lakshman told Vunisa that using his children as an excuse was not good.

"People like you are a great risk and threat to other road users," he said.

"You should be taken off the road completely."

Magistrate Lakshman sentenced Vunisa to one year imprisonment for bribery together with a $2000 fine for drunk driving.

He will need to pay his fine in one month's time in default of 200 days imprisonment. The court also disqualified him from driving for two and half years.


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