SODELPA MP Niko Nawaikula has told the Suva High Court that Buca Village is his permanent address while his residential address can be both Buca and Koronivia.
It is alleged that Nawaikula gave false information about his residence to the former Secretary General of Parliament while claiming for parliamentary allowances.
Nawaikula allegedly falsely stated that his permanent place of residence was in Buca village, Buca Bay and allegedly obtained $20,201.35 between August 2019 and April 2020.
He highlighted this when questioned during cross examination by the FICAC Deputy Commissioner Rashmi Aslam why he did not change his residential address as three laws required him to do so.
Aslam then said that while filling in forms and giving information to three different organisations namely Land Transport Authority, the Fijian Elections Office and the Legal Practitioners Unit, Nawaikula did not change his address.
Nawaikula answered by saying that the fact that he did not notify them does not change the fact that he made up his mind to move to Buca.
Aslam then put to Nawaikula that he was using both addresses interchangeably as was convenient to him where he used Buca for parliament purposes and used Koronivia for other purposes.
Nawaikula says he finds it hard to believe that FICAC would ever consider laying charges against him as he knew that whatever claims or receipts he submitted was right.
The MP also told the court that he was never consulted by the Secretary General to inform him that the claims were wrongly made.
Nawaikula confirms that he travels a lot to his village and back due to work and family commitments.
He says it was never his intention to obtain financial advantage as he is a public figure.
Nawaikula also told the court that he did not provide false information while making any claims.
He also confirmed that his Savusavu law office would also be his constituency office.
Aslam asked whether Nawaikula opened a law office or a constituency office and he replied that it was a law office and would also be his constituency office.
The Deputy FICAC Commissioner then put to Nawaikula that he opened his law office, not constituency office in Savusavu because he was confident his physical presence in Savusavu would not impede his ability to be elected. Nawaikula agreed to this.
Nawaikula is charged with one count of Giving False Information to a Public Servant and one count of Obtaining Financial Advantage.
Meanwhile, FICAC has also charged SODELPA MPs Ratu Suliano Matanitobua, Salote Radrodro, Simione Rasova, Peceli Vosanibola and Adi Litia Qionibaravi and former FijiFirst MP Vijendra Prakash with a count of Giving False Information to a Public Servant and one count each of Obtaining Financial Advantage.
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