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One year jail term for Qarase

August 3, 2012 1:06 am

Former Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase has been sentenced to one year imprisonment by the Suva High Court this morning.

Judge Justice Priyantha Fernando says that Qarase while being the Director of Fijian Holdings, Advisor to the Great Council of Chiefs and Financial Advisor to the Fijian Affairs Board breached the trust vested in him.

He says the Fijian Holdings Limited was an investment vehicle for the people of Fiji and he ought to have used his position to serve the Tikina and the provincial councils.

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Justice Fernando says Qarase failed to disclose his personal interest with the three companies Mavana Investments, QTen and Cicia Cooperative.

He added Qarase breached the trust and confidence the people and is punishable for breach of public trust.

The mitigating factors considered by Justice Fernando was his 71 year old age, the three character witnesses who spoke highly about him, his wife’s health issues and serving in a number of government positions.

As Qarase left court…heading to the Korovou Correctional Centre…the last words he spoke to his three grandchildren was “be strong.”

He didn’t speak to the media…his only response ‘I feel good’.

Qarase has thirty days to appeal the sentence.

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