Bainimarama and Qiliho Plead Not Guilty To Unlawful Termination Charges

Former Fiji PM Voreqe Bainimarama and suspended ComPol Sitiveni Qiliho pleaded not guilty to charges of unlawfully terminating two police officers in 2021.

Discussions during their appearance before Resident Magistrate Jeremaia Savou in Suva today entered on admissions during interviews, Qiliho’s employment status – a civil servant and not a public servant, and trial scheduling.

Bainimarama allegedly demanded termination, while Qiliho is accused of abusing his authority as Commissioner of Police to terminate the officers.

The trial date might be set for early 2025 due to scheduling conflicts, with the next court date scheduled for May 2 for a Pre-Trial Conference.

It is alleged that between May 21, 2021, and August 18, 2021, in Suva, Bainimarama, as a public official, demanded the termination of Sergeant Penieli Ratei and Police Constable Tomasi Naulu from the Fiji Police Force, threatening the resignation of Rusiate Tudravu, Acting Commissioner of Police, if he did not comply.

Qiliho, between August 5 and August 18, 2021, in Suva, reviewed the disciplinary decision against Ratei and Naulu by Tudravu, and contrary to the decision, terminated their employment, allegedly abusing his office’s authority, prejudicing the rights of Ratei and Naulu.

Meanwhile, Bainimarama and Qiliho are due back in court on Thursday March 21 for sentencing submissions hearing for a separate case, after their acquittal were reversed by acting Chief Justice Salesi Temo last week.

Photo: File

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