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Mau gets nine months, Patel 12 months

 

Apr 14, 2011 12:00:00 AM

Prominent Fiji businessman Mahendra Motibhai Patel and former Post Fiji managing director Tevita Peni Mau have been sent to jail this morning.
 
High Court judge Justice Daniel Goundar sentenced former Post Fiji board chairman Mahendra Patel to 12 months jail and Mau to nine months after finding them guilty of abuse of office.

In handing  out Patel and Mau’s sentence, Justice Goundar said Mau ignored his responsibility to apply the procedures of Post Fiji Limited, and allowed Patel an advantage.

He said Patel was simply motivated by greed to increase his corporate wealth and they both acted despotically and caused prejudice to Post Fiji Limited.

The high court judge further justified his ruling to not award suspended sentences for both men saying they both showed no remorse when they were convicted of their crime.

He highlighted Mau’s apology to Post Fiji during mitigation saying it was evident in that he did not accept the findings made against him and that he acted ‘despotically’ with improper motive, causing prejudice to Post Fiji Limited.

“A total absence of remorse even after finding of guilt is another factor that operates against suspending the sentences.”

Justice Goundar also took into account Mau and Patel’s previous good character and record of service to the public but said it did not give any weight for him to give them suspended sentences.

“They were given power and responsibility of a public office because of their corporate expertise and good character. Instead, they breached the public’s trust by misusing their office.”

After sentencing, defense lawyers for the two men Hamendra Nagin and Devanesh Sharma both expressed their intentions to appeal their sentence and at the same time applied for bail for their clients.

However, the bail application was denied by Justice Goundar.

Nagin and Sharma are expected to submit their appeal applications next week.

Outside court, relatives of the Motibhai & Company owner were clearly emotional as they watched a distraught Patel being escorted by prison officers.

Today’s sentencing drew a lot of attention from members of the community including former politicians and top legal representatives. Seen at the proceeding were former Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry and Solicitor General Christopher Pryde.

By Repeka Nasiko

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