Court

Ratu Suliano owns Namosi province: FICAC witness

May 18, 2022 10:59 am

Opposition MP Ratu Suliano Matanitobua.

Opposition MP Ratu Suliano Matanitobua has a house in Veivatuloa Village in the Namosi province.

The first state witness, William Vakadranu, highlighted this in his evidence in court this morning.

Ratu Suliano is charged with one count of giving false information to a public servant and one count of obtaining a financial advantage.

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He allegedly falsely stated that his permanent place of residence was Namosi Village, in Namosi.

Ratu Suliano then allegedly obtained over $38,300 between August 2019 and April 2020.

Vakadranu, who is The Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption’s witness, says even though Ratu Suliano does not own a house in Namosi village, he owns all the land in the Namosi province.

Vakadranu says he was appointed to be the headman for Namosi village in January 2021.

He adds that the paramount chief visits Namosi village on some weekends to talk with the village elders and drink Kava.

The 32-year-old also informed the court that Ratu Suliano’s family has an ancestral family foundation in Namosi village and that it signifies his family’s chiefly status.

The witness says Ratu Suliano’s late aunt has an unoccupied house in Namosi village, and whenever Ratu Suliano visits his village, he spends the night in one of the chiefly clans’ homes.

During cross examination, Filimoni Vosarogo questioned the witness on whether he was aware of Ratu Suliano’s status as the chief of Namosi.

In response, Vakadranu says Ratu Suliano is the Turaga na ITaukei of Namosi province, and in the traditional context, it means that he owns the land and the people that reside on it.

He adds Ratu Suliano as the paramount chief and Vunivalu of Namosi province, he also owns the land that his house is situated on.

The trial hearing continues before High Court judge Justice Thushara Kumarage at the Anti-Corruption Court in Suva.