FICAC Senior Counsel Rashmi Aslam says FICAC believes that they have provided sufficient evidence to prove SODELPA Leader Sitiveni Rabuka’s case beyond reasonable doubt.
While making FICAC’s submission before Chief Justice Anthony Gates in the High Court appeal case of Rabuka today, FICAC says there is no reason to send the matter for a retrial.
Aslam says this matter will set a precedent as to how a politician has to be compliant with the law.
Aslam also says that it is not safe to rely on Magistrate Jioji Boseiwaqa’s judgement.
He says they do not know what the Magistrate was thinking when he was writing the judgement.
The main point this morning was the evidence of the Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem.
FICAC Senior Counsel Rashmi Aslam
Aslam says the Magistrate had said that the Supervisor’s evidence was hearsay and inadmissible.
The FICAC lawyer says it is an error of fundamental law.
Aslam says the Supervisor of Elections is a competent witness as he was clear that Rabuka is the leader of SODELPA.
He says the Supervisor of Elections is also the Registrar of Political Parties and he was competent enough to speak on the registration of any political party.
Chief Justice Gates then said that the Registrar could have issued a certificate to prove that SODELPA was a registered party, and that would have been definitive. Chief Justice Gates said that he was also surprised that this was not agreed between the two parties.
Aslam said the oral evidence of the Supervisor of Elections was sufficient.
Chief Justice Gates said the formality is necessary to prove the case beyond reasonable doubt.
Aslam said they understand that the document should have been submitted.
He then said that there is abundance of evidence in the caution interview that Rabuka is the party leader. He said had the Magistrate gone through SODELPA’s constitution, he would have known that a party leader is selected through an election. Aslam said that the Magistrate kept a blind eye to the overwhelming evidence that was produced.
Aslam also said that Rabuka had education experience, he has a Masters Degree, he is a former Prime Minister and is currently leading a political party.
The FICAC lawyer said that Rabuka is meticulous in his tax compliance.
He said that if Rabuka was meticulous in following one law then he should have had no problems in following another law.
FICAC is represented by Rasmi Aslam and Sam Savumiramira while Rabuka is represented by Filimone Vosarogo, Lynda Tabuya and Kitione Vuetaki.
Sitiveni Rabuka was earlier found not guilty of the charges relating to the declaration of his assets and liabilities as required under the Political Parties Act.
It was alleged that Rabuka made a false declaration of assets and liabilities to the Supervisor of Elections by failing to provide information namely, the tax liability with Fiji Revenue and Customs Service in the amount of $316,956, the investment and interest income with Raghwan Construction Limited in the amount of $200,000 and $16,000 respectively and the liability with Raghwan Construction in the amount of $120,000, contrary to the Political Parties Act.
The alleged incident occurred on the 29th of December last year.
FICAC then appealed the case.
Rabuka’s counsel is currently making the submission in court.
The case continues this afternoon.Listen to the latest news on our 5 radio stations Legend FM, Viti FM, Radio Sargam, FM96 and Navtarang.