For­mer teacher goes to jail for dis­hon­esty

Fiji Sun - - Political Opinion - ASHNA KU­MAR Feed­back: ashna.ku­mar@fi­ Edited by Percy Kean

A59-year-old for­mer school teacher was sen­tenced to 17 months and 24 days im­pris­on­ment yes­ter­day. Li­tiana Taoi ap­peared be­fore Chief Mag­is­trate Usaia Ratuvili at the Suva Mag­is­trates Court.

Taoi was con­victed af­ter a full trial for the of­fence of Gen­eral Dis­hon­esty, ob­tain­ing a gain of $18,496.94 from the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion know­ing she was deemed to have re­signed and not el­i­gi­ble to re­ceive the amount from the min­istry.

The in­ci­dent hap­pened be­tween Jan­uary 1, 2011 and Jan­uary 31, 2012 in Suva.

She was charged by Fiji In­de­pen­dent Com­mis­sion Against Cor­rup­tion (FICAC) in 2014.

The State was rep­re­sented by FICAC lawyer Laite Bokini and de­fence was rep­re­sented by Sova Cola­vanua and Alisi Veretawa­tini.

Taoi will serve one month in cus­tody and the bal­ance of 16 months and 24 days is sus­pended for three years.

The ag­gra­vat­ing fac­tors in­cluded the breach of trust, du­ra­tion of the of­fence and an ap­par­ent lack of aware­ness or re­morse for the of­fence.

The mit­i­gat­ing fac­tors in Taoi’s favour in­clud­ing her age, was a first of­fender, was mar­ried and had a 14-year-old son who at­tends sec­ondary school, was re­morse­ful for her ac­tions, pleaded for the court to show mercy and was do­ing vol­un­teer work.

Chief Mag­is­trate Ratuvili told Taoi that the cus­to­dial por­tion of her sen­tence is to de­ter like­minded of­fend­ers and send a mes­sage that such of­fences will not be con­doned. He told Taoi that the bal­ance of her sen­tence will be served in the com­mu­nity to en­able her to re­ha­bil­i­tate her­self. Taoi was given 28 days to ap­peal.

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