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Bainimarama and Qiliho released on bail

Former Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and suspended Commissioner of Police Brigadier-General Sitiveni Qiliho were today released on bail by the Magistrates Court in Suva under strict conditions.

Both Bainimarama and Qiliho appeared before Resident Magistrate Jeremaia Savou.

Voreqe Bainimarama5 1

Appearing in the matter from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions were Acting DPP John Rabuku, Acting Deputy DPP Laisani Tabuakuro and senior prosecutor Puja Mishra, while Davenesh Sharma and Gul Fatima represented Bainimarama and Qiliho.

All charges pertaining to the accused persons were read out and understood by both Bainimarama and Qiliho.

Sitiveni Qiliho3

They also elected for the case to be heard in the the Magistrates Court.

Rabuku served first and second phase of disclosures and informed that they would need 21 days to file further disclosures.

He also did not object to bail but requested for strict conditions to be placed on the accused persons.

Charges

Bainimarama is charged with one count of Unwarranted Demands Made By A Public Official contrary to Section 355 (a)(b)(i) and (c) (ii) of the Crimes Act 2009.

It is alleged that between the 21st day of May 2021 to the 18th day of August 2021, whilst being employed as a public official, made an unwarranted demand with menaces of terminated Acting COMPOL Rusiate Tudravu to allegedly terminate the employment of police officers Penieli Nayare Ratei and Tomasi Naulu.

Voreqe Bainimarama 1

It is alleged that he used his official capacity as Prime Minister of the Republic of Fiji and was done with the intention of influencing Tudravu.

Qiliho is charged with one count of Abuse of Office, contrary to Section 139 of the Crimes Act 2009, as he is alleged to have between the 5th to the 18th day of August 2021, being employed in the civil service as the Commissioner of Police reviewed the disciplinary decision made by the senior officer, and terminated the employment of a police officer, in abuse of the authority of his office, an arbitrary act prejudicial to the rights of the officer.

Sitiveni Qiliho

He faces an additional charge of Abuse of Office, contrary to Section 139 of the Crimes Act 2009, as it is alleged that during the same period, he also reviewed the disciplinary decision of another officer and terminated his employment which was an arbitrary act prejudicial to the rights of the officer.

Bail Conditions

The Court has ordered the same bail conditions placed on the former Prime Minister by the Magistrates Court One for case number 182/2024.

It has also ordered the same sureties for the other matter signed for Bainimarama no later than this Friday, 16 February.

Voreqe Bainimarama3 1

Bainimarama has been told not to interfere with Prosecution Witness, not to reoffend and a $10,000 non-cash bond has been placed on him.

For Qiliho, the Court has ordered that a non-cash bond of $10,000 be placed on Qiliho, that he resides in either his residence Rukurukulevu Village in Sigatoka or his official residence at 45 Jackson Street Domain in Suva.

He has also been ordered to surrender his passport, which is being held by the High Court in an appeal matter.

Sitiveni Qiliho4

Qiliho is ordered not to re-offend whilst on bail and not to interfere with witnesses.

The matter has been adjourned to 19 March at 10:30am for further disclosures.

Ilaitia Ravuwai
Ilaitia Ravuwai
Journalist | news@fijilive.com

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