Former Director Forestry Operations North and a private company manager charged for bribery

Former Director Forestry Operations North and a private company manager charged for bribery

By Navitalai Naivalurua
Wednesday 06/12/2023
[Image: File]

The former Director Forestry Operations North, Moape Drikalu Lotawa, and the Manager of a private company, Byas Karan, have been charged by FICAC for bribery-related offences, and granted bail by the Labasa Magistrates Court.

Lotawa has been charged with four counts of bribery and one count of accepting an advantage while Karan has been charged with one count of bribery.

It is alleged that Lotawa between 19th March 2020 and 1st October 2020, on four separate occasions, whilst being a public servant employed at the Ministry of Forestry as Director Forestry Operations North, without lawful authority or reasonable excuse, solicited an advantage totalling the sum of $8,000 from Karan.

It is further alleged that between 19th March 2020 and 1st October 2023, Lotawa without the general or special permission of his appointing authority, accepted an advantage of $4,000 from Karan.

For the charge relating to Karan, it is alleged that on the 23rd of July 2020, without lawful authority or reasonable excuse, offered an advantage of $2,000 to Lotawa.

State Counsel Lanieta More informed the Court that the first phase of disclosures has been served.

Resident Magistrate Ratu granted a non-cash bail of $5,000 for each of the accused and ordered them not to re-offend whilst on bail.

Lotawa and Karan were ordered not to interfere with prosecution witnesses and not to change their residential addresses without first informing the Court.

Lotawa was also ordered to surrender his travel documents to the Court, while Karan was ordered not to apply for a new passport.

Lotawa is to report to the Nausori Police Station on the last Friday of every month, while Karan is to report to the Labasa Police Station on the last Friday of every month commencing from the 29th of this month.

A stop-departure order has been issued against Lotawa.

The matter has been adjourned to the 2nd of February 2024.

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