1 Aug 2012

Former Fiji govt Minister says Qarase guilty verdict sad day for country

4:46 am on 1 August 2012

Fiji's former Minister for youth and sports says the guilty verdict given to ousted Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase is a sad day for democracy in Fiji.

Qarase is on bail awaiting sentencing after being found guilty of corruption related charges in a Suva court.

Yesterday, Justice Priyantha Fernando concurred with assessors' findings on Monday that the 72 year-old is guilty of all nine charges against him.

The Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption brought the charges against Qarase, and declined to comment on the guilty verdict.

A former Minister for youth and sports and colleague, Rajesh Singh, says the judiciary is not impartial and it's a sad day for democracy.

"The court system is very much controlled by the regime and you look at the assessors, the three assessors were the civil servants, so what do you expect from where there is no democracy in the country and no impartial judiciary. I think it's a sad day for not only for Fiji but it's a sad day for democracy and a judicial system in Fiji and how it's run and operated by the regime."

Mr Singh says while Qarase might be facing a jail sentence he still has hope that he can recover to lead the nation.