High Court vacates trial dates for Vasu and Kunatuba’s case

Peniasi Kunatuba leaves court after the case today. Picture: VISHAAL KUMAR

THE High Court in Suva has vacated the trial dates for two men facing abuse of offices charges.

Former Fiji Corrections Service commissioner Iferemi Vasu and acting deputy FCS commissioner Peniasi Kunatuba appeared before Justice Riyaz Hamza today charged with a count each of abuse of office.

Initially, the trial was to begin from this Monday and conclude on July 26, however, this did not eventuate because of a power outage at the courthouse in Suva yesterday that affected the commencement of the trial.

It is alleged that between July 11, 2013, and December 23, 2014, Mr Vasu while being employed in the public service as the Commissioner Fiji Corrections Service and as a Director of Naboro Mart Limited, in abuse of the authority of his office, did arbitrary acts for the purpose of gain, namely facilitating and approving the purchasing of goods in the amount of $131,683.33 from the Naboro Mart Limited.

Mr Kunatuba is alleged to have between January 31, 2013, and March 7, 2014, while being employed in the public service as the Director Corporate Service and acting Deputy Commissioner of the Fiji Corrections Service, in abuse of the authority of his office, did arbitrary acts for the purpose of gain, namely facilitating and approving the purchasing of goods in the amount of $54,734.65 from the Naboro Mart Limited.

In court today, Justice Hamza took the opinions of both the defence lawyers Filimoni Vosarogo and Naomi Raikaci, and FICAC lawyer Francis Puleiwai and made a decision to move the trial dates to October.

The court heard that a total of 24 witnesses would be called during the trial and the time taken to go through each witness would not be sufficient enough.

Mr Vasu is being represented by Mr Vosarogo and Mr Kunatuba by Ms Raikaci.

The new trial dates have been set from October 7 to November 8 this year.

The matter will be recalled on September 18 for a pre-trial conference.

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