FICAC witness told court Parliament’s finance office made changes to Nawaikula’s claims

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FICAC witness told court Parliament’s finance office made changes to Nawaikula’s claims

Parliament’s chief financial officer in the SODELPA MP’s trial, Niko Nawaikula, told the Suva High Court that the finance office had made changes to Nawaikula’s forms for claims which were handled by the payments officer.

It is alleged that Nawaikula gave false information about his residence to the then Secretary General of Parliament, Viniana Namosimalua, while claiming parliamentary allowances.

Nawaikula allegedly falsely stated that his permanent place of residence was in Buca Village, Buca Bay and earned $20,201.35 between August 2019 and April 2020.

While being cross-examined by Nawaikula’s attorney, Sevuloni Valenitabua, prosecution witness, Sarwesh Narayan says Nawaikula did not confirm the changes when the changes to the forms were made.

He says the amount paid was different from what Nawaikula claimed and the amount paid, whether reduced or increased, was calculated by the finance office.

Narayan says the claims were made based on receipts received by Nawaikula’s office.

He also told the court that a finance officer certifies the amount in the application forms after it has been approved by the senior opposition officer and the Chief Clerk of Parliament.

The FICAC witness further testified that Nawaikula was due to return to Buca village in Vanua Levu on September 6, 2019 after the end of the parliamentary session and return on the 9th for a parliamentary committee meeting, but he decided to remain in back and saved money for parliament.

He agreed with Valenitabua that it saved parliament money and was a good move by Nawaikula.

Narayan also told the court that he had encountered deputies who carried their own receipt books.

He also agreed with Valenitabua that taxi drivers do not always have receipt books with them.

The trial continues in the Suva High Court.

Nawaikula is charged with one count of giving false information to a public official and one count of obtaining financial advantage.

Meanwhile, FICAC also accused SODELPA MPs Ratu Suliano Matanitobua, Salote Radrodro, Simione Rasova, Peceli Vosanibola and Adi Litia Qionibaravi and former FijiFirst MP Vijendra Prakash of giving false information to an official and having obtained a financial advantage.

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