Katia awaits fate

Former acting deputy official receiver at the Ministry of Justice, Viliame Katia (left) will be sentenced in November. Picture: FILE

“I WANT the authorities to get me this kind of criminals to court, not the small ones, they waste my time.”

The above sentiment was said by High Court judge Justice Salesi Temo during the sentencing submission hearing for the former acting deputy official receiver at the Ministry of Justice, Viliame Katia.

He said the case against Katia was the first he had ever come across in relation to the amount of money that was stolen by the accused.

Katia was convicted of 11 corrupt-related matters and was sentenced to 14 years imprisonment by the Suva Magistrates Court.

Justice Temo said he had sentenced people who committed aggravated robbery to 18 years, but the amount of money involved in this case was large and that he had no idea on how a person in Fiji could use a total of $4 million within eight years.

Justice Temo will deliver Katia’s sentencing on November 2.

The High Court judge said he was sure that his relatives would have benefited from the crime that Katia committed.

Justice Temo said he had seen how a lot of Fijian people struggled to earn their living and there were people who dress up in their three piece suit and had benefitted from the hard money that normal people had worked hard for.

He said it was important for him to carefully consider Katia’s sentence as the sentence would send out a message to people who steal from their employers, especially white collar job workers.

FICAC counsel Laite Bokini had suggested a 20 year sentence at least while Katia’s counsel Romanu Vananalagi suggested a 11 year sentence with a nine-year non-parole period.

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