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Official in remand

Shalveen Chand
Thursday, January 23, 2014

A SENIOR Ministry of Public Enterprise official charged with corruption-related offences has been remanded by the Suva Magistrates Court.

Meli Bitu is charged with one count of receiving a corrupt benefit and one of misleading information.

He is alleged to have taken $12,592.95 and given a false declaration to the Ministry of Finance permanent secretary regarding a surgery.

The alleged offences took place when he was the ministry's chief administration officer. Mr Bitu told the court he understood the charges.

However, a plea was not taken as the defence counsel told the court the accused would be ready for plea once full disclosures were served.

The FICAC prosecution did not object to bail, however, the accused had to surrender his passport and produce a surety who was neither his spouse nor a work colleague.

Mr Bitu had brought a former work colleague as a surety but this was rejected by Chief Magistrate Usaia Ratuvili after it was discovered the accused held a more senior post than his former colleague surety.

Mr Ratuvili ordered Mr Bitu to remain in custody until Friday when he is required to produce a better surety.

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