13 Sep 2005

Fiji prosecutors to appeal Shiu Raj acquittal

10:15 am on 13 September 2005

Fiji's Director of Public Prosecutions is to appeal the High Court acquittal of former cabinet minister, George Shiu Raj, on charges of defrauding the government and obtaining money by false pretences.

The DPP will challenge Justice Gerard Winter's ruling that Mr Shiu Raj's use of his entitlement of business class travel to purchase economy tickets for his wife and a Hindu priest was not unlawful.

In a statement, the DDP's office says the prosecution did produce sufficient evidence and will seek further clarification from the Court of Appeal.

But before the appeal papers are filed in the next few days, Mr Shiu Raj will be sworn in this morning into his former portfolio as minister for multi-ethnic affairs.

The prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, had taken personal responsibility for the portfolio and said he would restore it to Mr Shiu Raj if he was found not guilty.

Mr Shiu Raj has confirmed he will be getting his cabinet job back today.