26 Feb 2013

Qarase's appeal case continues in Fiji court

2:36 pm on 26 February 2013

The appeal case of former Fiji Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase continues today in the Fiji Court of Appeal.

Qarase's barrister Remy van de Wiel is challenging substantial facts used to convict the former leader last year of abuse of office and discharging his duty with respect to property in which he had a private interest.

The offences relate to activities in the 1990s when Qarase was a director of Fijian Holdings Limited.

Fiji Village reports that Mr van de Wiel told the court Qarase did not hold an official office under the Fijian Affairs Act and therefore did not have authority to abuse.

He said Qarase's convictions for acting for the purpose of gain are incorrect as his roles were for unpaid advice and he had nothing to gain.

The appeal case continues today, with FICAC Senior Counsel Michael Blanchflower responding to Mr van de Wiel's submissions.

Fiji Village further reported that Qarase could be released from jail as early as April the 2nd, after serving two thirds of his 12-month sentence.