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Bainimarama, Sayed-Khaiyum and Sharma get bail

Former Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama, former Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and former Health Minister, Dr Neil Sharman have been granted bail by the Magistrates Court in Suva.

The three appeared before Acting Chief Magistrate Waleen George this morning for abuse of office-related charges.

Voreqe Bainimarama5

It is alleged the three failed to comply with statutory requirements for tenders as stipulated under the 2010 Procurement Regulation.

Bainimarama is charged with one count of abuse of office.

Sayed-Khaiyum is charged with one count of abuse of office and one count of obstructing the course of justice while Sharma is charged with two counts of abuse of office and two counts of breach of trust by a person employed in the public service.

Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum3

Magistrate George stood down the matter for a while to check on the status of Bainimarama’s passport after his lawyer Gul Fatima informed the court that her client’s passport was not released by the court registry after his acquittal in the previous matter.

When the case resumed, Magistrate George noted that Bainimarama had surrendered his diplomatic passport in the previous case and upon asking, he informed the court that his other passport had expired.

Neil Sharma2

State Counsel, Laisani Tabuakuro stated that in that case, there should be an order from court that he cannot apply for any new passport.

To this, Magistrate George said that a stop departure order can be issued but Bainimarama can still apply for a passport in case of an emergency.

Furthermore, Tabuakuro did not object to bail however she asked for strict bail conditions including $10,000 cash bail as the charges are serious and the value of the tender in question was one million dollars.

She said the case should be heard early as the matter is from 2011.

Magistrate George took into consideration that Bainimarama and Sayed-Khaiyum have not breached their bail undertaking and released the three on strict conditions with personal surety in the sum of $10,000 and two suitable sureties in the same sum.

The three have been ordered not to interfere with prosecution witnesses, not to reoffend while on bail and to surrender their travel documents and not to change their residential addresses.

A stop departure has also been issued against the three.

The case has been adjourned to 19 March.

Bainimarama, Sayed-Khaiyum and Sharma are formally charged for the following offences;

Count 1: Abuse of Office
Neil Prakash Sharma between 03 August 2011 to 13 September 2011 at Suva in the Central Division being employed in the public service as the Minister of Health of the Republic of Fiji, abused his position as the Minister of Health by intentionally failing to comply with statutory requirements for tenders stipulated under the Procurement Regulation 2010 for the Ministry of Health Tender CTN 66/2011 and actively engaged in acts to undermine CTN 66/2011 in favour of bidder, Hospital Engineering & Consultancy Ltd also known as Hospineer which was an arbitrary act that was prejudicial to the rights of other bidders in CTN 66/2011.

Count 2: Abuse of Office
Neil Prakash Sharma between 18 October 2011 to 20 October 2011 at Suva in the Central Division being employed in the public service as the Minister of Health of the Republic of Fiji, abused his position as the Minister of Health by intentionally failing to comply with statutory requirements for tenders stipulated under the Procurement Regulation 2010 for the Ministry of Health Tender CTN 153/2011 and actively engaged in acts to undermine CTN 153/2011 in favour of bidder, Hospital Engineering & Consultancy Ltd also known as Hospineer which was an arbitrary act that was prejudicial to the rights of other bidders in CTN 153/2011.

Count 3: Breach of Trust by Person Employed in the Public Service
Neil Prakash Sharma between August 03 2011 to 13 September 2011 at Suva in the Central Division being employed in the public service as the Minister of Health of the Republic of Fiji, in the discharge of his duty committed a breach of trust by intentionally manipulating the tender process for Ministry of Health Tender CTN 66/2011 in favour of Hospital Engineering & Consultancy Ltd also known as Hospineer and securing benefits for Hospineer that was against the interest of other bidders in CTN 66/2011.

Count 4: Breach of Trust by Person Employed in the Public Service
Neil Prakash Sharma between 18 October 2011 to 20 October 2011 at Suva in the Central Division being employed in the public service as the Minister of Health of the Republic of Fiji, in the discharge of his duty committed a breach of trust by intentionally manipulating the tender process for Ministry of Health Tender CTN 153/2011 in favour of Hospital Engineering & Consultancy Ltd also known as Hospineer and securing benefits for Hospineer that was against the interest of other bidders CTN 153/2011.

Count 5: Abuse of Office
Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama on 13 September 2011 at Suva in the Central Division being employed in the public service as the Minister of Finance of the Republic of Fiji, recklessly abused his position as the Minister of Finance by granting a waiver of tender process without lawful justification for Ministry of Health Tender CTN 66/2011 in violation of the Procurement Regulation 2010, which was an arbitrary act prejudicial to the rights of other bidders in CTN 66/2011.

Count 6: Abuse of Office
Aiyaz Sayed-Khayum on 20 October 2011 at Suva in the Central Division being employed in the public service as the Acting Minister of Finance of the Republic of Fiji, recklessly abused his position as the Minister of Finance by granting a waiver of tender process without lawful justification for Ministry of Health Tender CTN 153/2011 in violation of the Procurement Regulation 2010, which was an arbitrary act prejudicial to the rights of other bidders in CTN 153/2011.

Count 7: Obstructing the course of Justice
Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum on 29 June 2012 at Suva in the Central Division being employed in the public service as the Attorney General of the Republic of Fiji, intentionally obstructed Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) investigation against Dr Neil Sharma in Ministry of Health Tender CTN 66/2011 by directing all investigation to be shelved until further notice which resulted in the cessation of FICAC investigation and no criminal charges being filed against Dr Neil Sharma for the past 10 years. Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum knew that there was compelling evidence in the FICAC investigation which would have resulted in criminal charges being filed against Dr Neil Sharma, by issuing such a directive as the Attorney General of Fiji, he had obstructed the course of justice.

Reginald Chandar
Reginald Chandar
Head of News & Sports | news@fijilive.com

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