Former Presidents gave character reference for Bainimarama

May 9, 2024 4:57 pm

Former Presidents, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, Major General Retired Jioji Konrote and former Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama

Two former Presidents, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau and Major General Retired Jioji Konrote, gave character references for former Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama.

Acting Chief Justice Salesi Temo highlighted this in court.

He says he took on board the character references made by the former presidents.

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Former Republic of Fiji Military Forces Commander and FijiFirst Member of Parliament Viliame Naupoto also gave a character reference for Bainimarama.

Meanwhile, Justice Temo told former Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama that it was not right of him to tell the suspended Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho to stay away from investigating the alleged mismanagement of taxpayer funds at the University of the South Pacific.

Justice Temo directed the comment at Bainimarama prior to sentencing him to a one-year imprisonment term earlier this afternoon.

He told Bainimarama that, as the Prime Minister of Fiji at the material time, he carries great weight with leaders of various government departments and government statutory bodies.

He says Bainimarama also carries great weight with members of the cabinet without violating the principles underpinning the concept of separations of power between the legislature, the executive, and the judiciary.

Meanwhile, Leader of the Opposition, Inia Seruiratu and Naupoto, gave character references for suspended Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho.

The Acting Chief Justice says he took this onboard.

Justice Temo says Seruiratu and Naupoto attest that Qiliho has served his country well.

Bainimarama will spend one year in prison, while Qiliho will serve two years behind bars.