Fiji Police commended for assistance in Chase investigation

Chris Chase, centre, during sentencing in the Auckland High Court. Picture: NZ HERALD/Mike Scott

THE Fiji Police Force has been commended for their valuable assistance in the investigation of Christopher Chase, a New Zealander convicted of drug-related offences.

The New Zealand authorities in a Government statement issued yesterday expressed its gratitude to the Fijian authorities that provided assistance to New Zealand Police during the course of their investigation of Chase and his co-offenders to identify any proceeds of crime located in Fiji.

Subsequently, a restraining order was registered over the proceeds of the sale of a property in Fiji which was owned by Chase.

The proceeds totalling $89,623.10 were then held in the Fijian Forfeited Assets Fund account.

In 2018, New Zealand authorities sent another request to register and enforce a foreign forfeiture order over the sum of money in the Forfeited Assets Fund.

In November 2018, the High Court in Fiji registered the Foreign Forfeiture Order effectively allowing for the forfeiture of the funds to New Zealand authorities.

On December 10, 2018, the New Zealand government formally advised it would not seek to recover the forfeited asset (funds totaling $89,623.10) and advised that Fijian authorities may retain the forfeited asset.

In 2015, Chase was sentenced to 10 years in prison in New Zealand for drug-related offences. The street value of the illegal pills (drugs) he sold was reported at nearly NZ$50million.

Fiji’s Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said the Fijian Government planned to utilise the forfeited assets to fund efforts to strengthen Fiji’s capacity to combat money-laundering.

He also reaffirmed Fiji’s commitment to work with international law enforcement agencies in investigating transnational crime and tracing and confiscating any illicit proceeds that may end up in Fiji.

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