The Labasa Magistrates Court
The former Director Forestry Operations North and the manager of a private company appeared before the Labasa Magistrates Court for bribery related offences.
The two have been charged by the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption.
Moape Drikalu Lotawa has been charged with four counts of bribery and one count of accepting and advantage while Byas Karan has been charged with one count of bribery.
It is alleged that between March and October 2020, Lotawa on four separate occasions while being a public servant employed at the Ministry of Forestry, without lawful authority or reasonable excuse solicited an advantage of $8, 000 from Karan.
It is further alleged that during the same period, without the general or special permission of his appointing authority, Lotawa accepted an advantage of $4, 000 from Karan.
For the charge relating to Karan, it is alleged that on July 23rd in 2020, without lawful authority or reasonable excuse, Karan offered an advantage of $2, 000 to Lotawa on the account of Lotawa performing any act in his capacity as a public servant.
The state counsel informed the court that the first phase of disclosures has been served.
The Resident Magistrate granted a non-cash bail of $5, 000 for each of the accused and ordered them no to re-offend while on bail.
Lotawa and Karan were also ordered not to interfere with prosecution witnesses and not change their residential addresses without informing the court first.
Lotawa was also ordered to surrender his travel documents to the court while Karan was ordered not to apply for a new passport.
Lotawa is to report to the Nausori Police Station on the last Friday of every month, while Karan is to report to the Labsa Police Station on the last Friday of every month from December 29th until the case if disposed of.
A stop departure order has been issued against Lotawa.
The matter has been adjourned to February 2nd, 2024.