A PROMINENT Lautoka businessman and his employee appeared in the Lautoka Magistrates' Court yesterday charged for being in possession of arms and ammunition without a licence.
Aiyaz Mohammed Mussa, 40, and Naushad Ali, 30, appeared before Magistrate Ragajeeva Wimalasena for allegedly being in possession of 179 live M16 centre fire cartridges (ammunition) without a proper licence on January 1.
Mr Mussa was represented by Lautoka lawyer Vasu Pillay while Mr Ali was defended by Mark Anthony.
They applied for bail which was refused by Magistrate Rangajeeva Wimalasena.
In his submission for bail, Mr Pillay said his client, who was the Fiji Muslim League Lautoka branch's vice president, was unaware of what was found on his boat on January 1 at the Vuda Marina.
Mr Pillay said Mr Mussa was contacted by police officers at the Vuda Marina Police Post on January 1 informing him that there were 'serious substances' found on his boat.
However, when Mr Mussa pressed the officers for more information on what was found, none of the officers informed him that they had found live ammunition in the boat.
He said his client had repeatedly contacted police to find out what had been discovered.
He said Mr Mussa then went voluntarily to the Lautoka Police Station on January 6 when he was informed of the discovery.
He said his client would adhere to any strict bail conditions and was even willing to pay a cash bond from $10,000 to $20,000 with three sureties.
Mr Pillay said the court could add any other condition that would ensure that his client returned for his next court date.
He said his client was a member of various school boards and was a businessman who needed to be outside of the remand centre to continue running his enterprises.
Mr Anthony also applied for bail for his client, who he said was a first offender.
He said his client did not have any criminal records.
Divisional prosecuting officer Western, Assistant Superintendent of Police Anil Prasad objected to the bail application.
He said the offence was a serious case and a matter of public interest that would create fear among the community following the discovery of heavy military ammunition.
ASP Prasad said police investigators were rounding up their case and were questioning their accomplices.
He said there was a high chance that the two accused persons would intervene with State witnesses.
Mr Wimalasena favoured the prosecutions submissions and further remanded the two accused persons.
The case will be called again on January 23.
Police Chief of Investigations and Intelligence, Assistant Commissioner of Police Biu Matavou confirmed the third suspect was being questioned by police.