FICAC’s senior counsel Michael Blanchflower this morning presented several documents during the Laisenia Qarase court trial showing some of the Fijian Holdings Limited dividend payouts in the early 1990s.
Blanchflower showed FICAC witness and former CEO of FHL Sitiveni Weleilakeba the minutes of the FHL AGM on September 30th, 1992, which was also attended by Qarase.
It was agreed in this meeting that the board pay out a dividend of $464,793.
The dividends were paid out on October 1st, 1992.
More FHL board papers from December 1987 to June 1992 were presented in court today where it was revealed that dividends were only paid for Class A shares.
In a FHL board meeting in March 1994, Weleilakeba confirmed that the board resolved to pay an interim dividend of $746,465 for Class A shares.
Qarase was not present in the meeting.
Fiji Development Bank documents indicate that a dividend of $40,000 was paid to Cicia Plantation Co-op Society Limited out of which FHL paid $22,000 to FDB and $18,000 to Cicia Plantation directly.
Another FDB account showed that $20,000 was paid to Mavana Investments Limted for the 200,000 Class A shares.
The money was paid to FDB for the company’s loan repayment.
FDB documents also showed in court and confirmed by Weleilakeba that Q-Ten Investments Limited was also paid $20,000.
Weleilakeba confirmed that the three FHL signatories for the dividend account were the late former chairman Lyle Cupit, Qarase and Weleilakeba.
Blanchflower has already told the court that Q-Ten Investments is a company owned by Qarase’s wife and children, Mavana Investments is a company owned by some of Qarase’s family members and villagers where Qarase is from, while Cicia Plantation Co-op Society Limited is a company where Qarase was appointed as an advisor.
Qarase is charged with six counts of abuse of office and three counts of discharge of duty with respect to property in which he has a private interest.
It is alleged that Qarase applied, and then facilitated and allowed the purchase of Class A FHL shares for certain companies when he was director of FHL, financial advisor of the Fijian Affairs Board and advisor to the Great Council of Chiefs.
Stay with us for coverage of Qarase’s trial.
Story by: Vijay Narayan & Ronal Deo
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