MP was claiming more in parliamentary allowances

May 19, 2022 4:55 pm

The sixth witness in the case against Social Democratic Liberal Party Member of Parliament Ratu Suliano Matanitobua informed the court that he had made changes to the allowance claims submitted by Ratu Suliano.

Senior Finance Officer of Parliament, Sarwesh Narayan highlighted this in court when he took the stand this afternoon.

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.

The MP allegedly obtained over $38,300 between August 2019 and April 2020.

Narayan informed the court that he had reduced the allowances that were to be paid to the MP.

The court heard that on one of the occasions, Ratu Suliano was claiming more than $2,000 but this was reduced to $1,960.

During cross examination, Narayan said that Ratu Suliano had filled in the claim form that he had travelled 86km to get to Suva from his home in Namosi Village in Namosi.

The state witness says he verified with the mileage with the Land Transport Authority and thereafter it was reduced from 86km to 45km.

The court heard that parliamentarians are eligible for subsistence and meal allowances if their place of residence is beyond 30km from parliament.

Narayan also told the court that the former General Secretary would approve all details. However, the finance team would determine if the members were eligible for the amount they were claiming.

He said anyone living beyond 30km from parliament is eligible for allowances.

The allowance is $350 per day for subsistence allowance per MP, and $30 per meal for any MP that is eligible.