Fiji’s High Court in Suva this afternoon refused another application made by ousted Prime Minister and former director of Fijian Holdings Limited (FHL) Laisenia Qarase to give away with the agreed facts already filed and signed in court.
The application was made this morning by Qarase’s lawyer Samanunu Vaniqi and Tupou Draunidalo on the basis that they have a different theory and do not agree on the proposed agreed facts initially filed in court. The new counsel wants some of the agreed facts from the bundles of documents to be amended or deleted.
The first application was made earlier by Qarase’s former lawyer Qoroniasi Bale to vacate a trial date in order to find a new lawyer but it was refused.
However this new application was opposed by Fiji Independent Commission against Corruption (FICAC) lawyer Michael Blanchflower.
The court heard that the agreed facts had been filed and agreed upon by both parties.
The court also heard that everytime a counsel changes, the agreed facts already filed cannot be allowed to give away with on the premise that the new counsel takes up a different defence story.
Justice Priyantha Fernando said in this case the previous counsel has confirmed by his letters that the accused also considered the proposed agreed facts before it was finalised and therefore he has also agreed to the proposed facts.
Qarase is charged with six counts of abuse of office and three counts of discharge of duty with respect to a property in which he has a private interest.
It is alleged Qarase between 1992 to 2000 while employed as a director of Fijian Holdings Limited, Financial Advisor of the Fijian Affairs Board and advisor to the Great Council of Chiefs, in abuse of the authority of his office, did arbitrary acts.
It is alleged he applied in the name of Cicia Plantation Co-op Society Limited, Mavana Investments Limited and a family owned company named Q-Ten Investments Limited for the issuance and allotment of Class A shares in Fijian Holdings Limited.
By Mereani Gonedua