The former Director Criminal Investigations Department (CID) SSP Serupepeli Neiko told court today that he received a call from suspended Police Commissioner Brigadier-General Sitiveni Qiliho on 15 July 2020 which lasted 34 seconds.
While testifying in the trial of Qiliho and former Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama, SSP Neiko said Qiliho called on his official number 9905907 at 10.40am on the said date and asked him in the i-Taukei language why the investigation into the University of the South Pacific was still ongoing.
Qiliho told Neiko that this was an internal matter for USP Council and that he wanted to speak to the Investigating Officer SP Reshmi Dass on the status of investigation.
Neiko told the court that Qiliho then ended the call.
He said he had called Dass to come up to his office, which was on the second floor of the CID Headquarters in Toorak.
Neiko also told the court that he then returned the phone call of the suspended Commissioner of Police when Dass came into his office.
He said that the phone was on loudspeaker and he clearly heard Qiliho instructing Dass to stop the investigation by stating that the USP report is an internal matter and this was the directive from the then Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama.
Neiko said that call lasted for 111-seconds.
The matter has been adjourned to 3.30pm for Defence Counsel to cross-examine the former Director of CID.
Bainimarama is charged with a count of attempt to pervert the course of justice, while Qiliho is charged with a count of abuse of office.
It is 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 is 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 are represented by R Patel Lawyers Devanesh Sharma and Gul Fatima while Acting Director of Public Prosecutions, Ratu David Toganivalu and Nimisha Shankar are representing the State.