Minister in court

A CABINET minister who allegedly tried to influence the vote of a school manager by directly conferring to offer a benefit, namely a steady water source for the school, appeared in court yesterday.

Education Minister Dr Mahendra Reddy has been charged by the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption.

He is charged with one count of bribery contrary to Section 140 (2) of the Electoral Act No. 11 of 2014 and one count of undue influence contrary to Section 141 of the Electoral Act No. 11 of 2014.

The alleged offences took place in May this year in the Western Division.

It is alleged that in order to influence the vote of a school manager, Dr Reddy directly conferred or offered a benefit, namely a steady water source for the school.

It is also alleged that Dr Reddy interfered with the free exercise or performance of a political right of the school manager that is relevant to the 2018 election.

Dr Reddy appeared before the Chief Magistrate Usaia Ratuvili in the Magistrates Court in Suva and pleaded not guilty to the two charges.

He was released on a $500 bail.

As part of the bail condition for Dr Reddy, Mr Ratuvili ordered him to report to the Nabua Police Station once a week from 8am-6pm and to surrender all his travel documents to the court registry.

A stop departure has been issued accordingly.

The complaint was referred to FICAC by the secretary to the Fijian Electoral Commission pursuant to Section 18 of the Electoral Act.

The case has been adjourned to July 19.

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