Former Fiji Prime Minister, Bainimarama Sentenced To Prison For Obstructing  Corruption Investigation

Former Fiji Prime Minister, Bainimarama Sentenced To Prison For Obstructing  Corruption Investigation

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Fiji’s former Prime Minister, Frank Bainimarama, once a towering figure in Pacific politics, has been sentenced to a year in prison for obstructing a corruption investigation.

The 70-year-old, known globally for his climate change advocacy, was found guilty last month of perverting justice by interfering in a probe into financial misconduct at the University of South Pacific.

Bainimarama’s sentencing by the High Court on Thursday marked a dramatic turn in the case that has gripped the nation.

He was accused of instructing the former Fijian Police Commissioner to halt the investigation of the corruption, allegedly involving irregularities in bonuses and pay raises for university staff. The court found that Bainimarama abused his authority to impede the inquiry, despite his plea of not guilty.

In response to the verdict, supporters of Bainimarama gathered outside the court, singing hymns, while political leaders hailed the decision as a step towards accountability.

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Unity Fiji party leader, Savenaca Narube, emphasized the importance of holding individuals accountable for corruption regardless of their status, stating, “The court case and sentencing shows… that people who break the law, doesn’t matter who they are, they are brought to account”.

Observers have noted the timing of the legal proceedings against Bainimarama, who lost the 2022 election to current Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka. Bainimarama’s political career has faced challenges, including a three-year suspension from parliament last year for criticizing the government. However, his party, FijiFirst, has reaffirmed its support, declaring Bainimarama will remain its leader.

“Bainimarama will continue to be the leader of the FijiFirst party. Come 2026, we will deal with it,” said party senior Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

Bainimarama, a former military commander, initially seized power in a bloodless coup in 2006 before winning democratic elections in 2014 and 2018. His sentencing underscores the principle that even the most powerful figures are subject to the rule of law.


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