Former Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and suspended Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho’s trial will run from 17-28 July, 2023.

The matter was called this morning before Magistrate Seini Puamau in Suva, for charges relating to a complaint made by the University of the South Pacific in July 2019 in relation to the activities of former staff members of the university.

It is alleged that in his capacity as the Prime Minister, Bainimarama directed the then Police Commissioner, in 2020, to terminate an ongoing investigation and it is also alleged that Qiliho directed Director CID Serupepeli Neiko to terminate the investigation.

Magistrate Puamau asked the Acting Director of Public Prosecutions, David Toganivalu whether his office would rely on the video interview of the 30 state witnesses.

Toganivalu said they would accept them; however, the translation of the transcript was in the i-Taukei language and whether that the defence counsel would accept the translations of the transcript.

Defence Counsel Davenesh Sharma told the Court that the ODPP has served them the remaining disclosures and from the 30 state witnesses already approved, the ODPP has added another eight potential witnesses.

Sharma told the Court that his clients are adamant that they did not direct officers to interfere in an active case.

He also told the Court that they would work with the ODPP to narrow what needs to be done and that the defence would need more time to go through the disclosures.

Sharma further stated that the Leader of Opposition Inia Seruiratu is a potential state witness, however he would need to discuss matters of the FijiFirst Party with Bainimarama – and that they would need to interact in that capacity.

He said that Seruiratu has already given his statement and trusted him to stick to that.

Toganivalu did not object to this.

The matter has been adjourned for pre-trial Conference on 19 June, while the trial will formally begin in July.