18 May 2007

Senior Fiji public servant in court on extortion charges

9:40 am on 18 May 2007

A senior Fiji public servant has appeared in court charged with extortion for allegedly accepting cash in the performance of his duties.

The Fiji Times reports that the divisional surveyor western, Shiri Narayan, is alleged to have accepted 6-thousand US dollars from a businessman, Ashwin Sharma, for certain favours.

The charge followed investigations by the newly established Corruption Investigation Unit.

The magistrate, Shafiulla Khan granted Narayan bail with a surety of 3-thousand US dollars and ordered him to surrender his passport and not to leave the country without the permission of the court.

Narayan and two other officers from the Lands Department were suspended two months ago pending investigations into allegations of corruption against them.

Five other officials of the ministry of works and transport in Fiji's west were sacked this week for fraud and misappropriation of funds involving several hundred thousand dollars between 2004 and 2006.

And Fiji's director of water and sewerage, Paul Wilisoni, remains suspended during investigations by the anti-corruption unit into a suspected scandal in the Water Supply Department.