Former teacher goes to jail for dishonesty
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.