13 Dec 2005

Fiji High Court judge says fraudsters have friends in high places

9:11 am on 13 December 2005

A Fiji High Court judge says many people who commit fraud or breaches of trust are powerful and influential people in society.

Justice Nazhat Shameem says they have friends in parliament and even on the bench who could help them get away with their actions.

The Daily Post reports that Justice Shameem made the comment in an address at the Director of Public Prosecutions' annual conference.

She says fraudsters are usually upstanding members of society and have friends in high places such as parliament, in the judiciary, on boards and committees, and in the media.

Justice Shameem says that is why a good fraud and corruption prosecutor needs to have a thick skin, courage and tenacity.

She has asked prosecutors not to be carried away by things such as telephone calls from the powerful friends of those under prosecution and be ready to protect the trial process.

Referring to the scandal which led to the collapse of the National Bank of Fiji, Justice Shameem said apart from attacks in the media, in parliament and through people in power, prosecutors must also be ready for every legal challenge in the book.