Suspects front court

Picture: FILE

FORMER Nasinu Town Council employees and executives from four companies who allegedly defrauded $400,000 from the council appeared in the Nasinu Magistrates Court on Wednesday.

The Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) produced four separate cases and charged eight individuals with corruption-related offences spanning over five years.

Former council information technology officer (ITO) Pauliasi Bainivalu was charged with conspiracy to defraud, obtaining a gain, bribery, general dishonesty, causing a loss and destroying of evidence.

He was alleged to have caused purchases to be made based on falsified quotations and local purchase orders from various companies.

Mr Bainivalu was alleged to have solicited $116,177 and was alleged to have accepted $57,427.40 in bribes from 2014 to 2019, resulting in losses to the council. Another former ITO, Eliki Bula was charged with one count of bribery for allegedly soliciting $1000 from an employee of Innovation Technology PTE in 2014.

Innovation Technology PTE employee Shiu Raman was charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud – obtaining a gain, bribery, general dishonesty – causing a loss and destroying of evidence.

Innovation Technology PTE director Razia Bibi was charged with one count of aiding and abetting bribery for allegedly helping her employee commit the offence of bribery by offering $2066 to Mr Bainivalu.

During proceedings, it was revealed $370,061.39 was alleged to have been lost to the council because of the actions of the four individuals mentioned above from January 2014 to July 2019.

In the second case, AK Investment director Diwakar Lal was charged with conspiracy to defraud – obtaining a gain, bribery and causing a loss from June to September 2018.

He was alleged to have conspired with Mr Bainivalu and offered an advantage of $2000 to him as an inducement or reward for him performing an act as a public servant.

In the third case, Printzone director Vicky Vikash Kumar was charged with conspiracy to defraud – obtaining a gain, bribery and causing a loss amounting to $37,029 to the council from December 2017 to January 2019. He was alleged to have bribed Mr Bainivalu with $7400.

In the fourth case, Business Equipment Ltd manager Remal Chand and director Ranjani Chand were charged with two counts of bribery whereby a total of $2661 was offered to council ITO Mr Bainivalu from September 2017 to May 2019.

The actions of all the accused were alleged to have caused a total loss of $407,090.39 to the Nasinu Town Council from 2014 to 2019.

Magistrate Charles Ratakele released each of the accused on $5000 bail and issued stop departure orders against them.

The matter was adjourned to June 23.

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