Fiji Police charge Bainimarama, Sayed-Khaiyum and former health minister

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Former prime minister and FijiFirst party leader Voreqe Bainimarama, former attorney general Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and former health minister Dr Neil Sharma. Image: FIJI TIMES ONLINE

Fiji Police have tonight formally charged former prime minister and FijiFirst party leader Voreqe Bainimarama, former attorney general and former FIjiFirst general secretary Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, and former health minister Dr Neil Sharma with abuse of office-related charges.

The trio were taken in for further questioning at the CID headquarters at Toorak earlier today for allegedly failing to comply with statutory requirements for tenders as stipulated under the 2010 Procurement Regulation.

Fiji Police Assistant Commissioner Crime Mesake Waqa said they were formally charged at the conclusion of the interview.

The charges:

Dr Neil Sharma

  • Count 1 – Abuse of office – between August 3-September 13 , 2011, at Suva in the Central Division, while being employed in the public service as the health minister, abused his position as the Minister of Health by intentionally failing to comply with statutory requirements for tenders stipulated under the Procurement Regulation 2010 for the Ministry of Health Tender CTN 66/2011 and actively engaged in acts to undermine CTN 66/2011 in favour of bidder, Hospital Engineering & Consultancy Ltd also known as Hospineer, which was an arbitrary act that was prejudicial to the rights of other bidders in CTN 66/2011;
  • Count 2 – Abuse of Office – between October 18-20 in 2011, to 20 October 2011 in Suva, while being employed as health minister abused that position by intentionally failing to comply with statutory requirements for tenders stipulated under the Procurement Regulation 2010 for the Ministry of Health Tender CTN 153/2011, and actively engaged in acts to undermine CTN 153/2011 in favour of the same bidder in count 1 – Hospital Engineering & Consultancy Ltd also known as Hospineer, an arbitrary act that was prejudicial to the rights of other bidders in CTN 153/2011;
  • Count 3 – Breach of trust by person employed in the public service – between August 3-September 13, 2011, in Suva while being health minister, committed a breach of trust by intentionally manipulating the tender process for Ministry of Health Tender CTN 66/2011 in favour of Hospital Engineering & Consultancy Ltd, a.k.a Hospineer, and securing benefits for Hospineer that was against the interest of other bidders in CTN 66/2011;
  • Count 4 – Breach of trust by person employed in the public service – between October 18-20, 2011, while he was the health minister committed a breach of trust by intentionally manipulating the tender process for Ministry of Health Tender CTN 153/2011 in favour of Hospital Engineering & Consultancy Ltd (Hospineer) and securing benefits for Hospineer that was against the interest of other bidders CTN 153/2011;

Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama

  • Count 5 – Abuse of office – on September 13, 2011, in Suva, Central Division, being employed in the public service as the Minister of Finance, recklessly abused his position as the Minister of Finance by granting a waiver of tender process without lawful justification for Ministry of Health Tender CTN 66/2011 in violation of the Procurement Regulation 2010, which was an arbitrary act prejudicial to the rights of other bidders in CTN 66/2011;

Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum

  • Count 6 – Abuse of office – on October 20, 2011 at Suva in the Central Division being employed in the public service as the Acting Minister of Finance, recklessly abused his position as the Minister of Finance by granting a waiver of tender process without lawful justification for Ministry of Health Tender CTN 153/2011 in violation of the Procurement Regulation 2010, which was an arbitrary act prejudicial to the rights of other bidders in CTN 153/2011;
  • Count 7 – Obstructing the course of justice – on June 29, 2012, at Suva in the Central Division being employed in the public service as Fiji’s Attorney General, intentionally obstructed Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) investigation against Dr Neil Sharma in Ministry of Health Tender CTN 66/2011 by directing all investigation to be shelved until further notice, which resulted in the cessation of FICAC investigation and no criminal charges being filed against Dr Sharma for the past 10 years. Mr Sayed-Khaiyum knew there was compelling evidence in the FICAC investigation, which would have resulted in criminal charges being filed against Dr Sharma, by issuing such a directive as the A-G of Fiji, he had obstructed the course of justice.

Mr Waqa said all the charges were sanctioned by the Office of the Director Public Prosecutions (DPP).

He said the three are in custody at the Totogo Police Station.

They will be produced at the Suva Magistrates Court tomorrow (Wednesday, February 7, 2024).

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