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Leave to appeal sentence refused for $4.1m fraudster

November 23, 2020 3:39 pm
Viliame Katia

A former civil servant has had his appeal against sentence rejected in Court today.

The former Acting Deputy Official Receiver whose corrupt practices resulted in the loss of $4.1m from the Office of the Official Receiver’s Bankruptcy and Liquidation Accounts appeared before the Court of Appeal.

Viliame Katia was sentenced to 23-years imprisonment in 2018 after being re-sentenced by the Suva High Court for engineering 1,415 fraudulent transactions over seven years.

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The ground of his appeal was that the Sentencing Judge had erred in law by not following the sentencing principle set out in Veresa v State AAU 101/13.

The Justice of Appeal held that the single ground of appeal relied on by Katia had absolutely no possibility of success and that its unsuccessful outcome was so obvious that it could not be held as being arguable with a reasonable prospect of success.

The Justice of Appeal then dismissed the appeal for being frivolous under the Court of Appeal Act.

Katia was charged by the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption with four counts of forgery, three counts of abuse of office and one count each of embezzlement by a servant, false information to a public servant, unauthorized modification of data and obtaining a financial advantage.

He was initially convicted and sentenced to 14 years imprisonment in June 2017 in the Suva Magistrates Court following the Learned Magistrate’s refusal to transfer the matter to the High Court for sentencing.

However, he was re-sentenced to 23 years in the Suva High Court after a successful appeal by FICAC against the refusal of the Learned Magistrate to transfer the matter to the High Court for sentencing and the initial sentence.

Katia must serve 22 years of imprisonment before being eligible for parole.

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