A suspended sentence was handed down to the Commanding Officer for the Border Police Unit of the Fiji Police Force at the Nadi Magistrates Court yesterday.
Pita Keni was sentenced to six months imprisonment with a three-year suspension, along with a fine of $500 to be paid within 30 days to avoid a further 50 days in prison.
The Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) charged Keni in 2014 with one (1) count of “Failure to Render Assistance” and one (1) count of “Resisting or Obstructing Officers”.
He was found guilty for the first count and not guilty for the second by Nadi Magistrate Mohammed Azhar last December.
Keni, while being a public servant employed by the Fiji Police Force failed to assist FICAC by refusing to provide information relevant to a bribery case against the former Acting Inspector of the Fiji Police Force, Timoci Naulu between September 2013 and March 2014.
In delivering the sentence, Resident Magistrate Peni Dalituicama said that though the offence of “Failure to Render Assistance” is a lesser one compared to Bribery, it did not mean that it should be taken lightly by the Court as it is an offence governed under the Bribery Act.
Furthermore, he stated that in failing to assist FICAC, Keni would be deemed to be failing in his duty as an officer of the law and that with such failure is the message to society that the law condones corruption.
“What may have seemed and interpreted right to the Accused at the time unfortunately is seen and interpreted differently in the public interest when the law steps in,” he said.