Former Fiji PM, suspended police commissioner found guilty

Frank Bainimarama. FILE photo

Former Fiji prime minister Frank Bainimarama was found guilty Thursday of illegally shutting down a sensitive police investigation, local media and a court official said.

Bainimarama, a former military commander who became an elected leader, was convicted of perverting the course of justice while leading the South Pacific nation.

The charges related to a police investigation into staff at Fiji’s University of the South Pacific in July 2020, when Bainimarama was prime minister. 

He had been found not guilty of the charge by a magistrate’s court in October last year, but the case was returned to Suva’s High Court following an appeal by the prosecution.

Acting Chief Justice Salesi Temo found the former prime minister guilty of one count of perverting the court of justice, an official in the court’s registrar office told AFP, confirming widespread Fiji media reports.

Suspended police commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho was convicted of one count of abuse of office, the court official confirmed.

Following the guilty verdicts, the High Court sent both men back to the magistrates court for sentencing on March 28.