Former Fiji High Court judge Nazhat Shameem says any criminal offences in losses leading to the $320 million Fiji National Provident Fund write off cannot be prosecuted under the stronger provisions relating to corporate crime under Fiji’s new Crimes Decree.
“The Crimes Decree applies only to offences committed after February 1, 2010,” Shameem told the annual Fiji Institute of Accountants congress in Sigatoka . “And I’m afraid it’s too late for Natadola and for Momi Bay and for FNPF,” she said.“If criminal offences have been committed, then we’re back to the old Penal Code offences.”
Shameem said prior to the law reforms of 2007 and 2009 under which the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) and the Crimes Decree were created, prosecutors were forced to prosecute the most serious fraud and corruption as “abuse of office”, a statutory child of the old common law offence of “misconduct in public office” and which carried (until this year) a maximum penalty of two years imprisonment, and four years if the prosecution could prove personal gain.
The maximum penalty now under the Crimes Decree is 10 years imprisonment and 17 if done for gain. Source: Fijilive, June 11, 2010 11:07:53 PM
Editor’s Note: In March 2007 Shameem had publicly admitted her failure, as head of the DPP’s Office, to bring to justice those involved in the NBF scam, currently serialized by us. She had made the comments at an anti-corruption workshop organised by Transparency International Fiji. Shameem had said about $200million in the NBF was advanced from 1988 to 1992 and all the internal mechanisms which were supposed to check corruption and that sort of lending did not expose the failure until the media did (P.S. The very media this illegal regime’s A-G Khaiyum is trying to stifle through the proposed Media Decree). She said what was supposed to be an affirmative action program to advance soft loans by the NBF to the disadvantaged indigenous population was in fact a slush fund for the privileged, many of whom were not indigenous and some of whom were cronies of people in authority.
We say, indeed, for so far those we have indentified from the NBF Debtors List include Ratu Epeli Ganilau, the Minister of Defence and National Security, Police Commissioner Esala Teleni, Foreign Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, the Methodist Church, SVT general secretary Ema Druavesi and others. Keep visiting our site to see ‘Who was Who’ on that Debtors List involved in the NBF scam.