Fiji’s Former Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama will be ineligible to contest any General Election until 2032.

He was found guilty Thursday of one count of attempting to pervert the course of justice.

According to the 2013 Fijian Constitution, individuals are barred from contesting an election if they have been convicted of any offense in the eight years prior to being nominated, for which the maximum penalty under the law is a prison term of 12 months or more.

FBC News has also sent questions to the Fijian Elections Office regarding Bainimarama’s eligibility to lead a political party.

FBC News are also trying to obtain details regarding the status of suspended Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho, who was also convicted of one count of abuse of office.

Meanwhile, Acting Chief Justice Salesi Temo says he observes from the evidence that suspended Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho does not seem to appreciate or realise that he is not subject to anyone’s authority except the law.
Justice Temo outlined this during his judgment in the appeal matter of former Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and suspended Commissioner of Police Sitiveni Qiliho.

The Acting Chief Justice found them guilty of corruption-related charges where Bainimarama and Qiliho interfered in a University of the South Pacific investigation.

Justice Temo notes that it is a fact that Qiliho rose through the ranks under the supervision of Bainimarama, leading to a reasonable assumption and inference that he would be loyal to the former Prime Minister.

He further states that by complying with Bainimarama’s directive to cease investigating the USP matter, Qiliho clearly abused the authority of his office.

The Acting Chief Justice points out that the evidence indicates the investigation into the USP matter did not cease abruptly on 15 July 2020, but rather suffered a slow death from that date.

He orders that the matter be brought before Magistrate Puamau on the 18th of this month, where she will be required to pronounce Bainimarama and Qiliho guilty as charged and convict them accordingly.

Justice Temo instructs the lawyers representing the accused to submit mitigation and sentencing statements for both defendants by Monday. The state is also required to do the same.

He said that Magistrate Puamau will be responsible for hearing the sentencing submissions next Thursday.

Justice Temo also states that the Resident Magistrate will deliver the sentences for Bainimarama and Qiliho on the 28th of March.