3 Oct 2005

Suva bureaucrat found guilty in relation to agricultural ministry scam

8:39 pm on 3 October 2005

The Suva High Court has found a former senior Fiji agriculture ministry official, Sakiusa Bole, guilty of charges related to the multi-million dollar agriculture ministry scam.

Bole was charged with five counts of fraudulent falsification of accounts amounting to 22-thousand US dollars to buy farming equipment.

Radio Fiji reports that all three assessors hearing the case were unanimous in their verdict that Bole was guilty.

In mitigation, Bole's lawyer cited his age of over 60 and the fact that he is looking after a disabled child by himself.

Justice Nazhat Shameem will deliver her ruling tomorrow morning.

During the course of the case Justice Shameem summoned the chief executive in the Prime Minister's Office, Jioji Kotobalavu, and the information minister, Marieta Rigamoto, to appear in court for commenting on evidence given in the trial.

Both apologised for their actions which were in contempt of court, with Mrs Rigamoto saying through her lawyer that she did not know the law of contempt.