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Fijian MP jailed for Parliament scam

The first of the seven parliamentarians facing fraud charges in Fiji has been sentenced to two years in jail and an additional year which has been suspended for five years.

The High Court in Suva has set a precedent indicating all MPs found guilty in this parliamentary scam would end up behind bars. This would make it the biggest number of MPs sent to jail while in parliament.

Opposition member of parliament Niko Nawaikula was found guilty of falsely stating his permanent residence and obtaining more than FJ$20,000 as parliamentary allowance.

Inside the Parliament of Fiji. Picture: Parliament of Fiji

He had told the Parliament of Fiji that he resided in his village which was in Vanua Levu even though he was residing within the Suva Nausori corridor.

The High Court convicted him of one count of giving false information to a public servant and one count of obtaining financial advantage.

High Court judge Justice Dr. Thushara Kumarage said Nawaikula committed the highest breach of trust to the people and the nation.

He said the money could have been used to provide more computers to a school in his village or better health care.

Justice Dr. Kumarage said he betrayed the trust of the public, the Parliament and his colleagues.

Niko Nawaikula. Picture: Facebook

He said Nawaikula’s action decreased the confidence in democratic processes of the country, and his actions were also premeditated.

As a result of the conviction and sentence, Nawaikula will not be contesting the general elections.

Five other MPs who allegedly made thousands of dollars are yet to start their trial while one Ratu Suliano Matanitobua is currently before the court.

One thing is for sure, a precedent has been set.

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Matanitobua is alleged to have falsely stated that his permanent place of residence was in Namosi village, Namosi and allegedly obtained FJ$38,378.22 between August 2019 and April 2020.

Salote Radrodro is alleged to have falsely stated that her permanent place of residence was in Namulomulo village, Nabouwalu, Bua and allegedly obtained FJ$37,920.13 between August 2019 and April 2020.

The court house in Suva. Picture: Twitter

Vijendra Prakash is alleged to have falsely stated that his permanent place of residence was in Waidracia, Naitasiri and allegedly obtained FJ$33,670.00 between August 2019 and March 2020.

Simione Rasova is alleged to have falsely stated that his permanent place of residence was in Nasenivolau, Nabouwalu village, Kadavu Island and allegedly obtained FJ$21,350.00 between July 2019 and April 2020.

Peceli Vosanibola is alleged to have falsely stated that his permanent place of residence was in Navuloa village, Bureta, Ovalau and allegedly obtained FJ$19,749.50 between August 2019 and March 2020.

Adi Litia Qionibaravi is alleged to have falsely stated that her permanent place of residence was in Ucunivanua, Tailevu and allegedly obtained FJ$15,480.00 between August 2019 and April 2020.

 

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