18 Jan 2005

Arrest warrant out for Lautoka Mayor

10:36 am on 18 January 2005

A warrant has been issued for the arrest of the mayor of Fiji's western city of Lautoka.

Radio Fiji reports that the Lautoka magistrate's court issued the warrant after Rajendra Gounder failed to turn up yesterday to answer to a charge of common assault, damaging property and using abusive language.

The Labour Party mayor allegedly assaulted a Lautoka City Council contractor and his wife in a park in August last year.

Gounder's lawyer told the court his client was overseas.

The magistrate agreed to a prosecution request to issue a warrant for Gounder's arrest as soon as he sets foot in Fiji and adjourned the case.

The minister for local government dismissed Gounder as Mayor last year but he clung on to the position after using council funds to obtain an injunction.

He was subsequently under investigation for abusing council funds