Former Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and suspended Commissioner of Police Brigadier-General Sitiveni Qiliho were today acquitted by the Magistrates Court in Suva.
In Court this afternoon, there was a burst of emotions by those present, when Resident-Magistrate Seini Puamau pronounced that both the accused were ‘Not Guilty’ of the charges laid against them.
Bainimarama’s wife Mary was seen in tears as the verdict was delivered.
Speaking outside the Court, surrounded by his family, friends and FijiFirst Party supporters, Bainimarama thanked all for their unwavering support, constant prayers during the period of the trial.
Bainimarama mentioned and thanked Resident-Magistrate Seini Puamau for uncovering and breaking the confusion brought by the Criminal Investigations Department for what he termed as ‘Trumped up Charges’.
“Truth has prevailed,” Bainimarama said.
He also thanked his legal team, Davenesh Sharma and Gul Fatima, for their legal services.
A relieved looking Qiliho said he will now await the decision of the Constitutional Offices Commission.
“But right now, I just want to call upon my Lord Jesus Christ and that I am going away to say my prayers,” he said.
Bainimarama was charged with a count of attempt to pervert the course of justice, while Qiliho was charged with a count of abuse of office.
It was alleged that Bainimarama sometime in July 2020 as the Prime Minister directed the Police Commissioner to stop the investigation into a police complaint, in the abuse of the authority of his office, which was an arbitrary act prejudicial to the rights of the University of the South Pacific which is the complainant.
It was alleged that Qiliho on the 15th of July 2020 as the Police Commissioner directed the Director of the Criminal Investigations Department, Serupepeli Neiko and Inspector Reshmi Dass to stop investigations into the police complaint by the USP, in the abuse of the authority of his office, which was arbitrary act of prejudicial to the rights to USP.
Bainimarama and Qiliho were represented by R Patel Lawyers Sharma and Fatima while the Assistant DPP Lee Burney and Nimisha Shankar appeared on behalf of the State.