Five overseas-based players were among 13 who assembled at Rugby House this morning for the trip down to Crows Nest which will serve as the Flying Fijians base camp ahead of their opening of two Pacific Nations Cup matches.
Fiji’s High Court in Suva heard this morning that former director of Fijian Holdings Limited (FHL) Laisenia Qarase was only the financial advisor and did not receive any payments from Cicia Plantation Co-op Society Limited.
This was revealed to the court by Qarase’s second witness Bai Tikoikoro who was also a shareholder of Cicia Plantation Co-op Society Limited.
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.
Tikoikoro told the court Qarase was only the financial advisor and was never the director of Cicia Plantation Co-op Society Limited.
The court also heard that villages in Cicia were happy with the services provided to them by Qarase.
In cross-examination, FICAC lawyer Michael Blanchflower asked Tikoikoro the amount of dividend paid to the shareholders annually and what type of work he did before he retired.
Tikoikoro replied that shareholders received $400 annually and he was a watchman at the Public Works Department (PWD) before he retired.
He also said he was unaware of the number of shareholders who held shares in Cicia Plantation Co-op Society Limited.
First defence witness Usaia Ravono who is an operational risk officer at the Westpac branch in Suva told the court that the documents given to him by the court did not indicate any suspicious or fraudulent acts when money was being withdrawn from the Cicia Plantation Co-op Society Limited account.
It is alleged that Qarase while employed as a director of the Fijians Holding Limited between 1992 and 2000 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.
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