Fijian Court Passes Light Sentences to Former Prime Minister, Suspended Police Chief

The former Fijian Prime Minister (PM) Frank Bainimarama received “an absolute discharge” from Suva’s Magistrates Court on March 28th. The judge, Magistrate Seini Puamau, reportedly said the sentence was due to Bainmarama’s health.

An absolute discharge is “the lowest-level sentence that an offender can get” from any conviction in Fiji and means that Bainmarama will have no conviction on his record.

Suspended Fiji Police Sitiveni Qiliho, who was also tried with the former PM, was sentenced to pay a $665 USD ($1,500 FJD) fine, and no conviction will be placed on his record.

Paumau passed the sentences even after the prosecutors urged the judge to issue the maximum sentences for both the former PM and Qiliho. Both individuals celebrated with their families and supporters after the ruling.

The former PM is also facing several other charges based on allegations from his time in office in the next few months.