Former Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and suspended Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho
Former Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and suspended Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho have a case to answer.
Suva Magistrate Seini Puamau made the ruling on the no case to answer submission this afternoon.
In this matter Bainimarama is charged with one count of attempting to pervert the course of justice, while Qiliho is charged with one count of abuse of office.
It is alleged that Bainimarama, during his tenure as Prime Minister, purportedly instructed Qiliho in July 2020 to halt an ongoing investigation into the University of the South Pacific.
It is also alleged that Qiliho subsequently ordered former Director of the Criminal Investigations Department, Serupepeli Neiko, and another officer to terminate the said investigation.
During her ruling this afternoon, the Suva Magistrate said that the state has alleged that Bainimarama suggested to Qiliho to stay away from the USP investigation.
She said the allegation is that Bainimarama’s objective was to ensure that this investigation never makes its way to a court of law, that by virtue of his position of leadership he was aware or ought to have been aware of the power his words held.
The Magistrate also said that his suggestion could have a tendency to cause those in State service to divert from a particular course of action.
Magistrate Puamau also said that Bainimarama was aware or ought to have been aware that the investigation was underway, that they had merit and if left to continue unabated, they could result in some charge being filed in court.
The Magistrate also said that the state alleges that Qiliho intentionally directed two subordinate officers to do an act which he knew was arbitrary and in abuse of authority of his office, namely to stop investigation into allegations arising from activities at the University of the South Pacific.
Magistrate Puamau also said that there is relevant and admissible evidence to indicate the investigations into USP did stop.
She also said that Bainimarama and Qiliho have the right to remain silent or testify in open court.
The two also have the right to call witnesses on their behalf.
The matter has been adjourned to 28th September.