Duo granted $10k non-cash bail

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Suspended Commissioner of Police Sitiveni Qiliho makes his way to the Suva Magistrate’s Court in Suva yesterday. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

Former prime minister and FijiFirst party leader Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama and suspended police commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho have been granted a $10,000 non-cash bail by the Suva Magistrate’s Court.

Both men are charged with offences relating to the alleged abuse of office relating to the unlawful termination of two police officers in 2021.

Acting Director of Public Prosecutions John Rabuku, acting Assistant DPP Laisani Tabuakuro and colleague Pooja Mishra presented on behalf of the State while RPatel lawyers Devanesh Sharma and Gul Fatima represented Mr Bainimarama and Mr Qiliho.

The court heard that between May 21 and August 18 three years ago, the former PM made an unwarranted demand of then Acting Police Commissioner Rusiate Tudravu, informing him that if the termination of Sgt Penieli Nayare Ratei and PC Tomasi Matanasiga Naulu was not done, he was to hand in his resignation.

The court also heard that on August 5-18, Mr Qiliho reviewed the disciplinary decision made by Mr Tudravu against Sgt Penieli Nayare – a fine equivalent to 5 working days’ pay – and PC Tomasi Naulu Ratei – a fine of two working days’ pay – and terminated their employment.

ADPP Mr Rabuku informed the court that the first phase of disclosures had been served and requested 21 days to provide full disclosures to the defence.

Mr Rabuku did not object to bail, but requested similar bail conditions provided in an earlier hearing before Magistrate Waleen George to be applied to Mr Bainimarama.

Magistrate Jeremiah Savou questioned the State’s position on Mr Qiliho’s bail, which the State did not object to, but wished to impose certain conditions, one being that he report to Totogo Police Station once a month.

Ms Fatima informed the court that Mr Qiliho travels frequently between Sigatoka and Suva, which is not a problem.

However, Magistrate Savou revoked the reporting conditions set by the DPP. Other bail conditions include surrendering their passports, issuing a stop-departure order and imposing a $10,000 non-cash bail with two sureties.

Mr Sharma told the court Mr Qiliho has no current history of absconding bail.

Mr Qiliho’s two sureties are retired naval commander and a longtime friend.

Both sureties were accepted by the court. Magistrate Savou reminded both accused persons to not reoffend while on bail and not interfere with State witnesses.

He also issued a stop-departure order on both of them. The case has been adjourned to March 19.

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