Chief Magistrate Usaia Ratuvili will rule on former Education Minister, Doctor Mahendra Reddy’s No Case To Answer Application on the 22nd of this month.
Reddy’s lawyer, Davenesh Sharma filed the application after FICAC presented it’s case in the Suva Magistrates Court.
While making the oral submission, Sharma said that the Ra High School Manager, Waisea Lebobo was a campaign manager with SODELPA and had a vested interest in discrediting Doctor Reddy who was a FijiFirst minister.
Sharma said that this is a witness who may have a motive to bring up a case against Doctor Reddy and he would gain if the minister would be removed.
He said that Lebobo was allegedly involved in the misappropriation of funds at Ra High.
Sharma also highlighted that Lebobo is highly educated and he had said that he likes SODELPA.
He said that Lebobo asked Doctor Reddy on the 8th of May this year for water assistance for Ra High.
Sharma said that it was a request made to government and it had nothing to do with the elections or campaigns.
He said that Doctor Reddy had said to Lebobo that if they want assistance, they should not go to the media and not criticise the government because they should not go to media if they are helping them. Sharma also said that it is a right for people to get water and in no way getting water will give a personal benefit to someone.
Sharma said that access to water is a constitutional right.
He also said that on the 17th of May this year, Lebobo signed a letter which was given to the Water Authority of Fiji about water supply at Ra High School.
Davenesh Sharma also said that Lebobo did not wait for assistance from the minister. He also asked why Lebobo would have written to the Water Authority if he was waiting for a bribe.
Sharma also said that Lebobo was fully aware of his political rights and no one had interfered in his rights.
He also said that Lebobo had no idea about these alleged offences that he was bribed.
It was highlighted that a FICAC officer had informed him that two offences were committed which he had no idea of.
Sharma then said that this is an offence created somewhere else and not brought on by Lebobo.
FICAC lawyer, Rashmi Aslam said that what Lebobo thought about the offer from Doctor Reddy is immaterial but what matters is what was his intention.
Aslam said that this was not a public action but an offer from Doctor Reddy.
He said that the Writ of Election is not an element in this case and it does not mean that there can’t be a bribery case if a writ is not issued for elections.
Aslam said that what the defence is saying is that bribery cases like this can only happen during the 44 days before the election.
Aslam also said that Doctor Reddy had said to Lebobo that he will watch him and if he is with them then he does not need to worry meaning if Lebobo is not with them then he must worry.
He said this is a clear intention from a person who is one of the most responsible men in the country and who is in parliament making laws.
Aslam also said that public action should be through relevant authorities and Doctor Reddy is not the minister responsible for water.Listen to the latest news on our 5 radio stations Legend FM, Viti FM, Radio Sargam, FM96 and Navtarang.