Qarase Receives Year Long Sentence For Corruption

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Former Fiji Prime Minister heading to prison

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, August 3, 2012) – Fiji's former prime minister Laisenia Qarase has been sentenced to one year in jail after being found guilty of corruption.

Qarase, 71, is the leader of the Indigenous Fijian SDL party.

He was removed as prime minister in the 2006 military coup led by current interim prime minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama.

Qarase was convicted on Monday on nine corruption-related charges, including six counts of abuse of office.

[PIR editor’s note: Dr Steven Ratuva of Auckland University said Qarase’s conviction likely rules out the chance that the former PM will contest the elections in 2014.]

The offences related to his time as a company director in the 1990s before he became prime minister.

The High Court Justice Priyantha Fernando on Friday handed Qarase a 12 month prison sentence.

The sentence comes as Australia and New Zealand this week softened their hardline stance to Fiji's military-backed regime.

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