Former Fijian Prime Minister and Suspended Police Chief Appear in Court to Contest Appeal

Former Fijian Prime Minister (PM) Frank Bainimarama and suspended Fijian National Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho appeared in court on April 3rd. They appeared in front of Acting Chief Justice Selasi Temo of the High Court due to the Prosecutor’s Office appealing the sentences handed to them last week.

Bainimarama and Qiliho were let off “without conviction” by Magistrate Seini Puamau on March 28th, with the prosecution filing an appeal afterward. The Acting Director of Public Prosecutions, John Rabuku, said Bainimarama and Qiliho’s sentences were “unsatisfactory and wrong both in fact and in law and does not reflect the considerations and tariff of cases or matters of similar nature.”

Both individuals “were found guilty of perverting the course of justice” in connection with a 2020 case involving the University of the South Pacific. The former PM was given “an absolute discharge” and will not have the conviction on his record.

Qiliho was given a $669 USD (1,500 FJD) fine “without conviction” and ordered to pay it in 30 days or be sentenced to 30 days in prison.