16th December 02:50 AM
Defence to file no case to answer application in Dr. Mahendra Reddy’s trial
By Vijay Narayan and Naveel Krishant
Friday 08/09/2017
Former Education Minister Dr. Mahendra Reddy.

The second state witness in former Education Minister Dr. Mahendra Reddy’s trial, Tevita Bure has told the court that he had verbally received complaints that there was inconsistent water supply to Ra High School.

Bure who is the Deputy Secretary of the Ministry of Education said that they read through the request from the school to determine whether water cartage or water tanks are needed.

When asked by FICAC counsel Rashmi Aslam if he knew of any plans to supply water to Ra High School, Bure said he had no knowledge about that.

He says if a school has issues about water, they consult the relevant authorities.

During cross examination, Bure said the schools make their request to the Ministry and the request is then forwarded to the relevant authorities to find a solution.

He again said that he has only verbally heard of the issues of Ra High School and nothing beyond that.

 

Meanwhile the first FICAC witness, Waisea Lelobo had earlier said that Doctor Mahendra Reddy may have told him not to go to the media about the water issue at Ra High School because he had gone to the media after Cyclone Winston when the Wainibuka Bridge was destroyed and children had to swim across.

Lelobo says that he understood from Dr. Reddy's statement during their meeting in Penang Sangam School in Ra that if they got back into government they will provide water supply to Ra High School.

He said that before going to the meeting, he supported SODELPA.

When asked by Aslam, Lelobo said that he was willing to support the FijiFirst if they got water for Ra High School.

He says after Dr. Reddy had given his answer, they again spoke to each other at the same venue and he was told to write a letter regarding the water situation and to take it to Suva.

During cross examination, Devanesh Sharma asked Lelobo if he has resigned from SODELPA.

Lelobo said they do not put in papers like that but register before the elections.

He said he had his political party but has changed because of the water supply situation.

Lelobo said he never discussed this issue with SODELPA.

He also said that he had no grievances against Dr. Reddy and Reddy was his best friend.

It is alleged that Doctor Mahendra Reddy, on or about 8th May this year, in Rakiraki, in order to influence the vote of Waisea Lelobo, the Manager of Ra High School, directly conferred or offered to confer a benefit namely a steady water source for Ra High School.

It is also alleged that Doctor Reddy on or about 8th May this year, in Rakiraki, interfered with the free exercise or performance of a political right of Waisea Lelobo that is relevant to the 2018 election.

Doctor Reddy has pleaded not guilty to one count of bribery and one count of undue influence before Chief Magistrate Usaia Ratuvili.

The defence will file a no case to answer application at 2.30pm today.

We will have more later this afternoon.

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