Former Fijian Opposition MP jailed

Salote Radrodro is escorted by police officers after her sentencing at the High Court in Suva today, Thursday, September 22, 2022. Picture: IAN CHUTE

Former Opposition MP Salote Radrodro was sentenced to 36 months imprisonment by the Anti-Corruption Division of the High Court (ACDHC) in Suva yesterday.

She was charged by the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption with one count of giving false information to a public servant and one count if obtaining a financial advantage.

It was alleged she falsely stated her permanent address to former acting secretary general to Parliament Viniana Namosimalua, causing Mrs Namosimalua to pay her $37,920 of parliamentary allowances she was not entitled to.

High Court judge Justice Dr Thushara Kumarage found her guilty of the charges on September 6.

Justice Kumarage said she committed the highest breach of trust, being an MP for several years and fully aware of the trust placed in her by her voters, and her responsibility to the 2013 Constitution by the oath she took in Parliament.

He said she damaged the reputation of Parliament and if not “nipped in the bud”, conduct of this nature by MPs can spread like a fungus and corrupt the political culture of Fiji and bring the apparatus of government to a standstill.

Justice Kumarage said while she had no previous convictions, there were no evidence on her contributions to the community.

He said the defence’s request that restitution be considered as an alternative punishment was misconceived.

He also said the court gave due credence to her medical conditions as submitted in mitigation. Justice Kumarage handed her an aggregate sentence of 36 months, 30 months imprisonment with a non-parole period of 24 months, and the remaining six months suspended for five years.

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