Fiji’s former Prime Minister, Frank Bainimarama, will appear in court in July for trial following a charge of abuse of office, according to court hearing on Thursday.
Bainimarama led Fiji from 2006, following a bloodless coup, until voters removed him from power in a general election last December.
He is accused of using his power as Prime Minister to terminate a 2019 police investigation into former staff members at Fiji’s University of the South Pacific.
Bainimarama, 69, has pleaded not guilty to the charge.
He appeared in court on Thursday alongside suspended police chief, Sitiveni Qiliho, his key supporter who also pleaded not guilty to an abuse of office charge in the same case.
Fiji’s former Attorney-General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, a staunch ally of Bainimarama, is also facing similar charges in a separate case.
The former Prime Minister looked relaxed outside court but did not make a statement.
Bainimarama emerged after the hearing to applause from his supporters, shaking hands and posing for photos before being driven away.
The trial will start on July 17 and is expected to last up to 10 days.
Bainimarama and Qiliho both remain on bail.
He resigned in March from parliament, which had suspended him for three years after he accused the country’s President, Ratu Wiliame Katonivere, of failing to protect Fiji’s constitution.
All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from PUNCH.
Contact: [email protected]