21 Jan 2005

Fiji prosecutors bungle fraud case against minister

7:53 am on 21 January 2005

Prosecutors in Fiji have bungled the criminal charge of conspiracy to defraud the state brought against the former minister for multi-ethnic affairs, George Shiu Raj.

When Shiu Raj and the director a travel agency, Sanjeev Pal, appeared in the Suva magistrate's court yesterday, their case could not proceed because prosecutors had not filed the charges with the criminal court registry in time.

The magistrate, Naomi Lomaiviti, criticised the police prosecution service and told the lawyer for the two accused they would be summoned to appear later.

The charges relate to Shiu Raj travelling overseas by economy class while a cabinet minister when the state had paid business class fares and pocketing the difference.

Shiu Raj was forced to resign from the cabinet late last year when the auditor general referred the fraud to the police