Former Fiji Prime Minister Bainimarama Jailed for Abusing Power to Halt Corruption Investigation at University

Former Fiji Prime Minister Bainimarama Jailed for Abusing Power to Halt Corruption Investigation at University

Former Fiji Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama has been sentenced to one year in jail after being found guilty of using his position to obstruct a corruption investigation at the University of the South Pacific. The 70-year-old, who held the prime ministerial post for 15 years until his defeat in the December 2022 election, was convicted of perverting the course of justice. The sentencing was delivered by acting Chief Justice Salesi Temo in Suva.

Bainimarama, a former armed forces chief who seized power in a coup in 2006, had instructed then-police commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho not to pursue allegations of corruption within the university. The case centered around a police investigation in July 2020, which uncovered potential wrongdoing related to bonus payments, promotions, and pay raises within the institution. Both Bainimarama and Qiliho denied the charges but were found guilty.

The former prime minister’s popularity was evident as a crowd of supporters gathered outside the court ahead of the sentencing. His wife, Maria Bainimarama, was visibly distraught as the decision was announced, and her husband was subsequently led away in handcuffs.

Bainimarama’s legal troubles have escalated since his defeat in the 2022 election to Sitiveni Rabuka, who now serves as the current prime minister. In February 2023, parliament suspended Bainimarama until 2026 following a speech in which he criticized his successor. A year later, he faced additional charges for abuse of office, including the alleged unlawful termination of two police officers in 2021 and the waiving of a tender bid without lawful justification during his tenure as finance minister in 2011.

CrimeDoor
Author: CrimeDoor

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