Neiko aware of Qiliho’s concern

August 8, 2023 6:33 am

The final prosecution witness in the case against former Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and suspended Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho agreed in court yesterday afternoon that Qiliho was concerned about the potential duplication in the University of the South Pacific’s investigation.

Former Acting Criminal Investigations Department Director Serupepeli Neiko was cross-examined by Defence Counsel Devanesh Sharma.

Bainimarama is charged with a count of attempting to pervert the course of justice, while Qiliho is charged with a count of abuse of office.

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The charges stem from a complaint filed by the University of the South Pacific in July 2019 pertaining to the conduct of former staff members.

Sharma asked Neiko if he was aware that Qiliho was wary that there could be duplication in the USP investigation as the Fiji Independent Commission against Corruption had also carried out an investigation into the same matter while the USP Council also engaged BDO, an Auckland New Zealand based accounting firm.

Neiko, in response, agreed to this.

Neiko agreed in court that he was aware that FICAC had carried out an investigation on the matter and that the USP Council had engaged BDO on the matter.

Meanwhile, during cross-examination, Sharma also asked if the phone conversation with Qiliho to stop the investigation was recorded in the police docket, as he cannot see it.

Neiko says he is unaware; however, he remained adamant that he had recorded this in his diary and told investigating officer Reshmi Dass to follow the instructions of the suspended police commissioner.

When asked why he did not verify this with Qiliho, Neiko says it would be an act of insubordination if he did that.

He further revealed in court that he was not aware that the investigating officer continued to investigate the matter even after the phone conversation with Qiliho.

Earlier yesterday, Neiko said a phone conversation between him, Qiliho, and the investigating officer took place on July 15th, 2020, where the Commissioner said, Director, I do not know why you are still investigating the USP matter as it is an internal issue”.

Defense Counsel Devanesh Sharma then said the BDO completed its findings and made a number of resolutions.

Sharma says involving Police was not part of the resolution.

Neiko replied that he was aware of the investigation by FICAC, but not of the findings and resolutions of BDO.

The trial will continue tomorrow.

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