Former Fiji PM To Appeal Currency Conviction, Sentence

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Chaudhry faces $1 million fine, 15 month prison sentence

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, May 5, 2014) – Fiji Labour Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry's lawyer, Anand Singh, has confirmed they will appeal against his conviction on exchange control violation charges.

Speaking to FijiLive, he says they hope to do so this week.

In fact a previous appeal against his conviction that was filed in April will be amended to cover Chaudhry's sentence.

"We are looking to file an amendment petition of appeal which will incorporate an appeal against sentence," Singh said.

"We will also make an application in the near future for stay of the sentence pending the determination of the appeal." Singh says they are hopeful this is resolved prior to the opening of the nomination period for candidates for the September 17 election.

However Director of Public Prosecutions, Christopher Pryde says "any appeals that are filed will be dealt with in the ordinary course.

"No special treatment will be given to Chaudhry." Meanwhile, the attempt appears to indicate Chaudhry's determination to qualify to contest the 2014 election, however, when contacted he only said a statement will be issued.

But according to the 2013 Constitution, once convicted, a person or persons cannot run as a candidate in the September 17 election.

Chaudhry was convicted in April for violating the Exchange Control Act with respect to $A1.5 million [US$800,000] he held offshore without the permission of the proper authorities.

In the High Court in Suva last Friday, he was told to pay a fine of $F2 million [US$1.07 million] by June end or spend 15 months in prison with a 12-month parole period.

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