30 Oct 2018

FICAC appeal hearing this afternoon in Suva

4:22 pm on 30 October 2018

Fijian political party leader Sitiveni Rabuka is due to appear before the High Court at Suva this afternoon after anti-corruption authorities filed an appeal against his acquittal last week.

Former Fiji prime minister and two-time coup leader Sitiveni Rabuka.

Sitiveni Rabuka Photo: AFP PHOTO / Torsten BLACKWOOD

On Friday Mr Rabuka was found not guilty of providing a false declaration of his assets, income and liabilities under electoral rules.

The Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) is appealing on 15 grounds of fundamental legal and factual errors, according to a statement from the authority.

Mr Rabuka's lawyer Lynda Tabuya said her client's rights had been breached as he had been given less than 24 hours notice to appear.

"Mr Rabuka was served by FICAC in the middle of Vanua Levu last night at 7pm so he's had to make his way to Labasa and fly back this morning as soon as he could because the appeal has been listed for 3.30pm this afternoon and it's most unusual and is not complying with the usual three days clear notice that is supposed to be given between service of a summons and the listing in court."

Appeal papers appeared on social and mainstream media soon after the acquittal on Friday before counsel had received them, according to Ms Tabuya.

"We are just speechless and flabbergasted about what's going on," Ms Tabuya said.

Ms Tabuya said the matter is listed for 3.30pm before the Chief Justice Anthony Gates.

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