Arya acquitted of corruption charges

Kamlesh Arya (4th from left) with lawyer Gregory Woods (left),Kamendra Singh (brothr-in-law), lawyer Vijay Maharaj,son Krishneel Arya and wife Urmila afetr his aquittal from high court yesterday. Picture: RAMA

FORMER school manager of Bhawani Dayal Primary School Kamlesh Arya walked away a free man after being acquitted of corruption-related charges by the High Court in Suva.

Mr Arya appeared before Justice Riyaz Hamza yesterday.

He was initially charged by the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) with one count of abuse of office and one count of general dishonesty causing a loss.

It was alleged Mr Arya, while acting as the school manager for Bhawani Dayal Primary School, did arbitrary acts for gain in abuse of the authority of his office, authorised loans amounting to $116,500 from the Free Education Grant provided by the Ministry of Education.

He was also alleged to have dishonestly caused a risk of loss to the school by authorising the Free Education Grants as loans.

Justice Hamza had earlier acquitted Mr Arya of the first count of abuse of office, stating that prosecution had failed to provide any relevant or admissible evidence to establish the essential ingredient of the offence of abuse of office.

On Wednesday, during the trial, all three assessors delivered a unanimous guilty opinion against Mr Arya for the second charge.

However, in his judgment yesterday, Justice Hamza overturned the assessors’ decision for the second and found Mr Arya not guilty.

Justice Hamza said prosecution had also failed to prove their case beyond reasonable doubt.

Mr Arya was emotional after the judgment yesterday and was still trying to come to terms with the excitement of winning his case when approached for comments by this newspaper.

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