Qiliho's loyalty to former PM highlighted

March 14, 2024 4:55 pm

Acting Chief Justice Salesi Temo, former Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and suspended Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho

Acting Chief Justice Salesi Temo says he observes from the evidence that suspended Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho does not seem to appreciate or realize that he is not subject to anyone’s authority except the law.

Justice Temo outlined this during his judgment in the appeal matter of former Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and suspended Commissioner of Police Sitiveni Qiliho.

The Acting Chief Justice found them guilty of corruption-related charges where Bainimarama and Qiliho interfered in a University of the South Pacific investigation.

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Justice Temo notes that it is a fact that Qiliho rose through the ranks under the supervision of Bainimarama, leading to a reasonable assumption and inference that he would be loyal to the former Prime Minister.

He further states that by complying with Bainimarama’s directive to cease investigating the USP matter, Qiliho clearly abused the authority of his office.

The Acting Chief Justice points out that the evidence indicates the investigation into the USP matter did not cease abruptly on July 15, 2020, but rather suffered a slow death from that date.

He orders that the matter be brought before Magistrate Puamau on the 18th of this month, where she will be required to pronounce Bainimarama and Qiliho guilty as charged and convict them accordingly.

Justice Temo instructs the lawyers representing the accused to submit mitigation and sentencing statements for both defendants by Monday. The state is also required to do the same.

He adds that Magistrate Puamau will be responsible for hearing the sentencing submissions next Thursday.

Furthermore, Justice Temo states that the Resident Magistrate will deliver the sentences for Bainimarama and Qiliho on the 28th of this month.