FORMER Fiji National Provident Fund deputy general manager and chief operations officer Foana Tukana Nemani was yesterday convicted of one count of extortion by public servant and another count of abuse of office.
High Court judge Justice Janaka Bandara convicted Nemani after the three assessors of the trial returned three hours later with a guilty verdict.
The two gentlemen and the lady assessor of the trial unanimously found her guilty after a one-week trial. Trial proceeded in absentia.
It is believed that Nemani had left the country in 2011 while the case was still before the court.
This was after she had made an application for bail variation to allow her to travel overseas for medical treatment.
Her application was allowed and Nemani is believed to have been in New Zealand since.
In his judgment, Justice Bandara said he concurred with the three assessors after carefully perusing over copies of the 12 State witnesses' evidence and that of prosecution as well.
On the first count of extortion by public servant, between August 5, 2005 and July 26, 2007 while being the deputy general manager of the FNPF, Nemani received a total amount of $26,487 after claiming responsibility allowance despite being fully aware she was not entitled to any sort of responsibility allowance.
On the second count of abuse of office, on September 5, 2006, in her position as deputy general manager and chief operations officer of the fund, Nemani authorised the payment of $33,000 to the then general manager and CEO Olota Rokovunisei. After delivering his judgment, Justice Bandara questioned FICAC lawyer Rashmi Aslam on who was Nemani's surety.
Mr Aslam informed the court that Nemani's husband Maretino Nemani had signed as her surety but he was also away overseas.
Justice Bandara asked about the address Nemani had given when her personal details were noted.
Mr Aslam responded: "We don't have any idea who lives at the address she has given." Justice Bandara will sentence Nemani on Friday although she will not be present.