What are the Fijian authorities doing after revelations in Umarji’s Auckland drug trial?

What are the Fijian authorities doing after revelations in Umarji’s Auckland drug trial?

By Vijay Narayan
Friday 08/09/2023
Aiyaz Musa Umarji

Manufacturing of hard drugs, and cutting off the suppliers and peddlers is an immediate issue of concern after Fijian national, Aiyaz Musa Umarji was convicted in New Zealand on August 9th this year, and people are asking what the Fijian authorities are doing about this as a lot of money has also been earned by Umarji through these illegal means.

It has been stated in the Auckland District Court’s official documents received by fijivillage News that Umarji was the managing director of several pharmacies in Fiji and across the Pacific region under the 'Hyperchem' group of pharmacies including 'Hyperchem Pharmacy' in Lautoka, Fiji.

The summary of facts states that Umarji's role in these companies is, amongst other roles, the importation and exportation of pharmaceuticals into and out of Fiji from all over the world. At all material times these entities had lawful authority to import products containing pseudoephedrine into Fiji and, prior to 2021, the same could be sold over the counter in Fiji without a prescription.

Umarji is also the sole shareholder of 'Bio Pharma Limited' and a signatory on the account. His co-defendant in the NZ matter Firdos Eruch Dalal is the sole director of this company and also a signatory on this account.

This company was set up for the sole purpose of transferring money between syndicate members with respect to the importation and distribution of illicit drugs.

In the sentencing documents, the Auckland District Judge told Umarji that he was a significant actor in the importation of 40.68 kilograms of pseudoephedrine. He said this is suggested by the Crown to have had a value of close to NZ$6 million.

The Judge said it is difficult to escape the conclusion that the financial benefits that Umarji saw led him into temptation to be involved in this offending and that really, in its purest sense, would be described as greed. The Auckland District Judge told Umarji apart from this offending, he was devoted to his family and to his faith. The Judge said Umarji produced a great deal of public benefit - this is coupled with him being described as an honest and fair businessperson, and he has seen Umarji has made his apologies to the people who have known him in terms of his religious faith and recognise that what he did was a serious departure from his normal way of living.

The Judge said Umarji has done positive things that have been of real benefit in terms of his contribution to the orphanage in terms of his involvement with people who need his assistance and skill.

He said it is paradoxical that Umarji is now facing a lengthy sentence for what is regarded as very serious offending.

The Judge said to Umarji he reflects on the harm that would have been caused by the disposition of the end product of the pseudoephedrine, and as he knows vulnerable people are harmed to a significant degree by methamphetamine, described as a blight on our society.

That said, the Judge accepted there is genuine remorse on Umarji’s behalf underlined by him returning to face the consequences of what he had done.

The Judge started the sentence at 9 years but after taking all the mitigation factors into account, Umarji was sentenced to 4 years imprisonment for the importation of pseudoephedrine.

We have sent questions to Police on the steps being taken after revelations in the Auckland trial.

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