Fijian Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka confirmed Friday that Kalaveti Ravu has resigned as Minister for Fisheries and Forests.

Ravu was charged by the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) for abuse of office and appeared in the Magistrate’s Court on Thursday.

“In keeping with the conventions of Cabinet, Ravu has tendered his resignation as Minister for Fisheries & Forests to comply with due process. By law, he is entitled to the presumption of innocence. The resignation in no way implies guilt or innocence. That is a matter for the courts to determine,” Rabuka said in a statement.

Rabuka emphasised his respect for the legal process and the independence of the judiciary.

“I respect the legal process and the independence of our judiciary,” he said.

Ravu will continue to serve as a backbencher in Parliament.

“I thank him for his loyalty and for respecting the conventions of Cabinet and upholding the integrity of Government. It is the right thing to do for the people and the nation.”

Rabuka also announced the appointment of Alitia Bainivalu as the new Minister for Fisheries & Forests.

“In view of the resignation of Ravu, I will be appointing Alitia Bainivalu as Minister for Fisheries & Forests. She is currently the Assistant Minister for Tourism and Government Chief Whip.”

Bainivalu has a strong background in the fisheries sector.

“Bainivalu has extensive experience in the fisheries sector as a former senior fisheries officer. She is also highly qualified, as a Bachelor of Science graduate from the University of the South Pacific and holds a Masters in Marine Science from the Tokyo University of Marine Science & Technology,” PM Rabuka added.