Bainimarama, Sayed-Khaiyum and Sharma granted bail

Bainimarama, Sayed-Khaiyum and Sharma granted bail

By Vijay Narayan , Rashika Kumar
Wednesday 07/02/2024
Former Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama; former Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum; and former Health Minister, Neil Sharma

Former Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama; former Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, and former Health Minister, Neil Sharma have been granted bail by Chief Magistrate Waleen George.

Bainimarama and Sayed-Khaiyum are represented by R. Patel lawyers Devanesh Sharma and Gul Fatima while Hemendra Nagin and Ritesh Singh from Sherani and Co. are representing Dr. Sharma.

Acting Director of Public Prosecutions John Rabuku and Laisani Tabuakuro are appearing for the State.

Their bail conditions include personal surety of $10,000 bond which will be paid if they do not follow bail conditions, 2 sureties each, non-interference with witnesses, surrendering of travel documents, prohibiting Bainimarama from leaving the country without a court order, a stop departure order has been issued for all three and they have been prohibited from changing their address.

The State did not object to bail, however, they had asked for strict bail conditions including $10,000 cash bail bond, surrendering travel documents and reporting to the police station once every fortnight and that sureties be family members.

Tabuakuro says given active interference was made and that the value of tender was close to a million dollars, they are asking for $10,000 cash bail bond for each of the accused.

She says they are men who held public office and should know better.

Sharma and Singh objected to the $10,000 bail bond condition and say that it is unreasonable.

Sharma says Bainimarama and Sayed-Khaiyum do not have a history of absconding bail.

Singh says Dr. Sharma is a first offender and the amount is unreasonable.

Fatima has also informed the court that Bainimarama's passport is still with the court despite getting acquitted last year as there is an appeal matter before the High Court.

Chief Magistrate George had stood down the matter to locate Bainimarama's passport.

She also says that she does not have any issue with Sayed-Khaiyum not appearing in court and the only time he did not appear was when he was undergoing medical procedures in Singapore.

When the matter was called again, Chief Magistrate George asked if Bainimarama had ever absconded bail to which Rabuku responded that he has not absconded bail or breached any bail conditions.

Tabuakuro stressed that they are not objecting to bail but they want to ensure that they appear for this matter.

Sharma says it is unprecedented that the surety be a family member and that there is no need for sureties as they do not have a history of absconding.

Bainimarama's sureties are MPs Faiyaz Koya and Viliame Naupoto, Sayed-Khaiyum's are MPs Hem Chand and Premila Kumar while Sharma's are his cousin Mohini Shankar and her husband.

Bainimarama, Sayed-Khaiyum and Sharma have been charged for allegedly failing to comply with statutory requirements for tenders as stipulated under the 2010 Procurement Regulations and were held in custody overnight at Totogo Police Station last night.

Bainimarama is charged with one count of abuse of office.

It is alleged that on 13th September 2011, being the Minister of Finance, Bainimarama recklessly abused his position as the Minister of Finance by granting a waiver of tender process without lawful justification for Ministry of Health Tender CTN 66/2011 in violation of the Procurement Regulation.

Aiyaz Sayed-Khayum is charged with one count of abuse of office and one count of obstructing the course of justice.

It is alleged that on 20th October 2011, being employed as the Acting Minister of Finance, Sayed-Khaiyum recklessly abused his position as the Minister of Finance by granting a waiver of tender process without lawful justification for Ministry of Health Tender CTN 153/2011 in violation of the Procurement Regulation.

It is also alleged that on 29th June 2012, being employed in the public service as the Attorney General, Sayed-Khaiyum intentionally obstructed the FICAC investigation against Dr Neil Sharma in Ministry of Health Tender CTN 66/2011 by directing all investigations to be shelved until further notice which resulted in the cessation of FICAC investigation and no criminal charges being filed against Dr Neil Sharma for the past 10 years.

It is alleged that Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum knew that there was compelling evidence in the FICAC investigation which would have resulted in criminal charges being filed against Dr Neil Sharma, by issuing such a directive as the Attorney General of Fiji, he had obstructed the course of justice. Neil Sharma is charged with two counts of abuse of office, and two counts of breach of trust by a person employed in the public service.

It is alleged that between 3rd August 2011 to 13 September 2011, being employed in the public service as the Minister of Health, Sharma abused his position as the Minister of Health by intentionally failing to comply with statutory requirements for tenders stipulated under the Procurement Regulation for the Ministry of Health Tender CTN 66/2011 and actively engaged in acts to undermine CTN 66/2011 in favour of bidder, Hospital Engineering & Consultancy Ltd also known as Hospineer.

It is also alleged that between 18th October 2011 to 20th October 2011 being employed in the public service as the Minister of Health, Sharma abused his position as the Minister of Health by intentionally failing to comply with statutory requirements for tenders stipulated under the Procurement Regulation for the Ministry of Health Tender CTN 153/2011 and actively engaged in acts to undermine CTN 153/2011 in favour of bidder, Hospital Engineering & Consultancy Ltd also known as Hospineer.

For the breach of trust charge, it is alleged that on August 3rd 2011 to 13th September 2011, being employed in the public service as the Minister of Health, Sharma in the discharge of his duty committed a breach of trust by intentionally manipulating the tender process for Ministry of Health Tender CTN 66/2011 in favour of Hospital Engineering & Consultancy Ltd also known as Hospineer and securing benefits for Hospineer that was against the interest of other bidders in CTN 66/2011.

It is further alleged that between 18th October 2011 to 20th October 2011, being employed in the public service as the Minister of Health, Sharma in the discharge of his duty committed a breach of trust by intentionally manipulating the tender process for Ministry of Health Tender CTN 153/2011 in favour of Hospital Engineering & Consultancy Ltd also known as Hospineer and securing benefits for Hospineer that was against the interest of other bidders CTN 153/2011.

The matter has been adjourned to the 19th of March.

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