Arrests Made After New Fiji Currency Stolen From Bank

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7 individuals, including security officers, being questioned

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, Dec. 30, 2012) – Police have arrested three more people in connection to the 500 new-look FJ$100 [US$55] bills that were stolen from a Suva bank last Sunday.

Fiji Police spokesperson Ana Naisoro did not elaborate on the new development saying investigations are continuing. The recent arrests bring to seven, including the three security officers, the number of people taken in for questioning for their alleged involvement with the missing money of which 394 have been retrieved by a special Police Task Force unit so far.

Police have not decided on what will come of business owners who had received the money in exchange for goods from their shops on whether they had done so knowingly or otherwise.

"These notes could have been used during the busy Christmas period which understandably is a major rush. But that's subject to investigations," Naisoro said.

In the last 24 hours, 91 more of the missing bills were recovered following a search of the home of one of the security officers’ who was arrested from Nadi on Friday.

Police discovered 45 of the new FJ$100 currency bills from the suspect’s home and another 46 were recovered from various shops and individuals on Koro Island. Naisoro said investigations revealed that one of the suspects had spent a week on the island before departing for Taveuni.

Questioning of the suspects continues today.

So far a total of 394 new-look currency with serial numbers ranging from FFA 030 3001- FFA 030 3500 have been recovered after 303 were retrieved on Friday.

The new-look bills were discovered missing from a Suva bank last Sunday. It was referred to Police on Christmas Eve.

A special task force was set up by Police to investigate the matter.

The team was gifted a breakthrough in their investigation three days later on Thursday, 27 December when three of the new-look bills were used at three supermarkets in the central division and 15 were recovered from a bank in the North.

The next day on Friday, four people were taken in for questioning, three of them believed to have been part of the security personnel who were tasked with escorting the new-look bills to a Suva bank where the money was stolen from.

One of the suspects was arrested in Taveuni along with his wife with more than FJ$120 [US$66] of the new currency in their possession. Another two security officers were arrested and found with a combined total of FJ$17,400 [US$9,693] worth of new FJ$100 bills found in their possession, while a third security officer was arrested in Nadi.

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