Opposition MP Ratu Suliano Matanitobua (from right) with his lawyer Filimoni Vosarogo. [File Photo]
Opposition MP Ratu Suliano Matanitobua has been described as a chief who ensures that unity and stability exists in his province.
The first character witness described the paramount chief of Namosi as a brother, a well-groomed trustworthy leader, and a very helpful individual.
Vimal Chaudhary had worked with Ratu Suliano on several projects in the Navua district and in particular the Navua Soccer team.
The political activist said he had also worked with the MP when he was part of the Social Democratic Liberal Party.
He adds that people of all ethnic groups in Navua are fond of Ratu Suliano and they love the way he interacts with everyone.
Ratu Ifereimi Buaserau from Namosi said the province was different from other provinces in Fiji because they only have one paramount chief.
He said he was definite that if Ratu Suliano was removed from the province, it would be difficult to approach the province to sort out certain issues.
For instance, he said the people of Namosi were not forthcoming about receiving the COVID-19 vaccine but Ratu Suliano managed to convince his people to receive the doze.
In addition, he said countless disagreements that had arose over the years had been managed and solved by their chief.
Ratu Ifereimi said his chief’s influence was powerful and it would be a loss if they lose Ratu Suli.
The MP’s lawyer Filimoni Vosarogo read out a support letter written by the Namosi Provincial Council.
The letter described Ratu Suli as a strong and irreplaceable leader.
A support letter from the Priest at Holy Spirit Parish in Navua was also read.
The Priest described the MP as a humble grounded leader and a people person.
The medical report of the MP’s wife was part of the closing submissions as Ratu Suliano’s wife Adi Akeneta Matanitobua is a Rheumatic Heart Disease patient and her condition is serious.
The doctor stated that she suffers from heart failure and she needs her husband’s support.
Vosarogo pleaded with the court to consider how the MP has restituted the amount of money he used and the personal circumstances presented.
He asked the court to consider a suspended or partially suspended sentence for Ratu Suliano.
The Fiji Independent Commission against Corruption will deliver their closing submissions around 11.30 am.
The Social Democratic Liberal Party MP has been found guilty of one count of giving false information to a public servant and one count of obtaining financial advantage.
Ratu Suliano falsely stated that his permanent place of residence was Namosi Village, in Namosi.
He then obtained over $38,300 between August 2019 and April 2020.