26 Jul 2012

Verdict in Fiji's Qarase trial due next week

11:38 am on 26 July 2012

A verdict is expected on Monday in the trial of Fiji's ousted prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, who is facing nine charges dating back to the early 1990's.

Mr Qarase has been charged with six counts of abuse of office and three counts of improperly discharging his duty with respect to a property in which he has a private interest.

The anti-corruption agency bringing the case says Mr Qarase saw the opportunity and took advantage of it, favouring his friends and family which was unlawful.

Closing the defence case, his lawyer said that the prosecution is building a huge case and making something out of nothing.

Fijivillage reports the lawyer as saying the prosecution is trying to apply public sector rules in the private sector.

She says under company laws, failure to declare interest carries a maximum fine of 1,000 Fiji dollars but the charges laid would mean that a conviction could result in a three-year prison term.