Hours after the murder …

THE four young men had successfully executed the first part of their plan by robbing and killing carrier driver Mohammed Faiyaz.

It was now time for them to embark on the second part of their plan to try and sell their victim’s van to someone who was reportedly buying stolen vehicles in Ba then.

As the body of the 19-year-old carrier driver lay in the water at Wailoaloa Beach in Nadi some time after 1am on January 6, 1994, his killers got into his van.

Dharmen Chandra, who was a Detective Constable at Nadi Police Station, reveals what happened after the four men had killed Mr Faiyaz.

He was appointed as the new investigating officer of the case by his divisional head one week after the discovery of the body by two joggers at about 6am on January 6, 1994.

Mr Chandra said after the murder, the four men drove to a bowser in Martintar and filled $15 worth of diesel in the van and headed to Ba.

He said they drove to a squatter settlement in Ba, where the first accused, who was the son of a former police officer, got off and went to meet the buyer.

“After about 10 minutes, the first accused came back running, got inside the carrier and asked the other three to drive away since he was being chased by the buyer and his friends who were all drunk,” he said.

“This is what the second, third and fourth accused persons had told police during their written interrogation.”

However, Mr Chandra said the first accused had told police during interrogation that the sole reason they went to Ba was to meet his girlfriend.

“When they went to Ba on that particular night, he told police that he went and knocked on the bedroom window when he heard a male voice from inside saying ‘who’s there’,” he said.

“Having heard the male voice, the first accused fled, got into the carrier and headed back to Nadi.

“At Namaka in Nadi, they turned into Legalega Rd, where they abandoned the carrier by the roadside and took out the spare tyre and stereo and hid them in the canefield.

“They then threw the carrier key in the grass by the roadside and walked to a taxi stand in Namaka and hired a taxi to drop them in Nadi Town.”

Mr Chandra said from what they told police, the second accused got off at the Saunaka junction while the first, third and fourth accused persons got off at the Nadi bus stand and dispersed to their homes.

It was not until after five weeks when an informer told police that a possible suspect in the murder was at the Nadi bus stand, waiting for a bus to go to Suva.

The suspect was taken in for questioning by Mr Chandra and another police detective and he revealed to them everything, resulting in the arrests of his accomplices.

Mr Chandra said during the interrogation and while doing the reconstruction of the scene, the four men showed police where they murdered Mr Faiyaz and dumped his body.

He said they also showed police where they filled diesel in the van and the house in the squatter settlement in Ba.

“It was confirmed by way of a statement that the first accused person’s girlfriend lived there.

“They also showed police where they had abandoned the van and hid the spare tyre, car stereo and where they threw the key.

“The tyre and car stereo were recovered by police and so was the carrier key, which was recovered after six weeks when the four accused pointed out to police where they had thrown it.”

Mr Chandra said the first accused was also identified by the first carrier driver whom they had hired to go to Wailoaloa Beach since he knew his father and had seen the first accused many times at the Nadi police compound where his father was a police officer.

“It took a lot of time putting together bits and pieces and the confessional statements of all four accused persons.

“This case solely hinged on circumstantial evidence which needed to be well corroborated. As the investigating officer, I ensured that I left no stones unturned to put the links together.

“Finally, the compilation of papers, doing a good presentable police docket and the depositions were all a challenge within the challenge before me.

“I took this case up personally, presented the best police docket ever — Nadi crime docket number 26/94, which is relevant.

“I also did the depositions bound neatly, which I tendered in court during the Preliminary Paper Inquiry which was commended by the court and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions,” said Mr Chandra.

* NEXT WEEK: The trial, the conviction, the break.

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