Ratu Suliano Matanitobua. [File Photo]
The Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption claims that the defence is using tradition as an excuse to prove that Ratu Suliano Matanitobua’s permanent residential address is Namosi village.
FICAC counsel says this argument is used mainly because the MP is the paramount chief of Namosi province and that the majority of the land in the province belongs to Ratu Suliano.
However, he adds that this should be disregarded because the witnesses, in this case, confirmed that Ratu Suliano does not own a house in Namosi village and he resides at Veivatuloa village in Namosi.
The counsel also highlighted that the former MP Nikolau Nawaikula is not a chief, so he could not use this argument in his case, but he used his traditional ties as part of his case.
He said it was imperative for the court to note that everyone was equal before the law, especially in the criminal court where everyone should be treated the same.
Ratu Suliano is charged with one count of giving false information to a public servant and one count of obtaining a financial advantage.
He allegedly falsely stated that his permanent place of residence was Namosi Village, in Namosi.
The MP then allegedly obtained over $38,300 between August 2019 and April 2020.