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Case to answer against two former Rotuma Council members

June 3, 2020 4:30 pm
Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC). [File Photo]

The Nausori Magistrates Court has ruled there is a case to answer against two former members of the Council of Rotuma.

Former Chair of the Council, Tarterani Rigamoto, was charged by the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) with one count each of Abuse of Office- Obtaining a Gain and Giving Information Derived from False Documents.

Former Secretary of the Council, Sainimeli Tivao was charged with a count of Aiding and Abetting, while Penaminio Tavo was charged with Giving False Information.

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Resident Magistrate Lasitha Chaminda found that there was a case to answer for Rigamoto and Tivao.

It is alleged that while serving as the Chair Rigamoto caused the investment of the council with Fijian Holdings Unit Trust to be the security for a REMCOL loan of $250,000 without the Council’s approval.

He allegedly gave false information to Merchant Finance Limited that the Council of Rotuma had unanimously agreed to support REMCOL’s loan application and to be the Guarantor for the loan.

Rigamoto is alleged to have derived this information from the minutes of the Rotuma Council meeting, knowing that the information as false, with the intention to gain a loan from Merchant Finance.

Tivao is alleged to have helped Rigamoto by backing up the claims to Merchant Finance.

Penaminio Tavo was acquitted as there was no evidence credible enough to show that he had a case to answer.

The matter will be called again on 5th June.

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