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Deliberate act by Sitiveni Rabuka: FICAC

November 8, 2018 12:01 am

The Fiji Independent Commission against Corruption says SODELPA Leader Sitiveni Rabuka had deliberately omitted information in relation to his assets, income and liabilities while making his declaration to the Supervisor of Elections.

FICAC counsel Rashmi Aslam made the statement during the appeal hearing this morning before the Suva High court.

FICAC has appealed the Suva Magistrates court’s ruling on fifteen grounds following Rabuka’s acquittal two weeks ago.

Aslam says Rabuka cleared his tax liability with the Fiji Revenue and Customs Service and on the same day few hours later he declared his assets, income and liabilities with the Supervisor of Elections and allegedly omitted information in relation to this tax liability.

The FICAC lawyer says this act is discriminatory as he complied with Revenue and Customs law but allegedly failed to comply with another law.

Aslam says the amount omitted by Rabuka is significant.

FICAC is alleging that Rabuka failed to provide information pertaining to tax liability with the Revenue and Customs Services which amounted to over $316,000.

It is also alleged that Rabuka failed to declare Investment and interest income from Raghwan Construction Limited in the amount of $200,000 and $16,000 respectively and also a liability in the amount of $120,000.

Aslam says the total omission stands at $652,000 and is not an oversight.

FICAC is appealing on the grounds that the learned Magistrate was wrong in applying an entirely irrelevant law, namely section 27 (4) of the Political Parties Act to substantiate the defense of the Accused.

FICAC is also claiming the learned Magistrate was, in his judgment, mistaken on very fundamental legal principles of oral evidence, hearsay evidence and admissibility of evidence.

Aslam also claiming the learned Magistrate erred in law in finding that the accused was not an office holder of the registered political party SODELPA without referring to the relevant evidence such as SODELPA Constitution.

Finally, FICAC is appealing that the learned Magistrate was wrong in stating that it was an honest mistake where the direct and circumstantial evidence of prosecution points at the intention of the accused in omitting information to the Supervisor of Election.

Aslam while concluding said that there is sufficient evidence of guilt and that there is no need to order a retrial.

The defense is currently giving their submissions.