30 Oct 2006

Fiji agriculture ministry scam trial disrupted over unspecified threat

4:35 pm on 30 October 2006

The High Court trial involving the 13-million US dollar Fiji agriculture ministry scam was disrupted today when one of the assessors was threatened.

Police tightened security around the courts and began investigations after High Court judge, Justice Nazhat Shameem, revealed that one of the five assessors hearing the case had been threatened.

Justice Shameem said the person making the threat may not be directly involved with the case and one should not assume that the accused, the former agriculture ministry Peniasi Kunatuba, was implicated.

She said the person who made the threat was attempting to pervert the course of justice and police would be interviewing the assessor who made the complaint.

The prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, and other ministers are due to give evidence in the trial soon.

Kunatuba is facing two counts of abuse of office in relation to the same.