|Qarase and Draunidalo heading to court. pic Fiji Village|
Draunidalo pointed out that potential witnesses, namely the chairman of Fijian Holdings Limited and Fiji Development Bank, Lyle Cupit and the former minister of finance, Josevata Kamikamica, have died and the unavailability of Cupit is a disadvantage to Qarase.
She also reminded the court that during cross examination, the FICAC's star witness, Sitiveni Weleilakeba had named Cupit as the main player.
Draunidalo also noted that Qarase was originally charged in 2008 and that it is now 2012, adding that Fiji authorities had waited about 16 years to investigate the charges against Qarase and yet no explanation has been given for the long delay before the case was finally heard.
However the senior counsel for FICAC, Michael Blanchflower, insists neither Cupit nor Kamikamica were present at the FHL board meetings held on December the 27th in 1991 and February 28th in 1992 where the board decided to allot shares to Mavana Investments, Cicia Plantation Co-op Society Limited, and Q-Ten Investments Limited.
Blanchflower claimed the defence had made no attempt since Qarase was charged in 2008 to locate other potential witnesses who are alive or could testify on its behalf.
He also said FICAC was only established in late 2007 and that it took the new organisation six to eight months to investigate before it decided to charge Qarase.
He said Qarase's team did not ask any witnesses in the trial about missing witnesses and neither did they never inform the court that there were undue delays.
Draunidalo replied that the Director of Public Prosecutions office who sanctioned the current proceeding chose to do nothing between 1992 to 2008, saying there is no explanation what facts arose between that time, but there was suddenly a light bulb moment in 2008.
She is expected to file her submission for her claim there is no case to answer tomorrow morning.
Qarase is accused of facilitating and allowing the purchase of Class A FHL shares for certain companies when he was Director of FHL, Financial Advisor of the Fijian Affairs Board and Advisor to the Great Council of Chiefs.