FICAC’s first witness at Reddy’s trial says none of his political rights were violated
FICAC’s first witness in the trial of former Education Minister Dr Mahendra Reddy Waisea Lelobo told Suva Magistrates’ Court that none of his political rights were violated.
Lelobo also said he was free to support anyone.
He said this while being cross-examined by Dr Reddy’s lawyer Devanesh Sharma last night.
Asked by Sharma, Lelobo said he would vote for the government if the government provided them with water.
Lelobo also told the court that Dr Reddy was their savior that day, as the only solution to their problem was water.
Sharma then asks Lelobo what words he remembers from Dr Reddy’s conversation.
Lelobo told the court that Reddy told them not to go to the media and that if they went next year they would get it.
He said Dr Reddy gave them a boost as well.
Lelobo was then asked if Dr Reddy was laughing when he raised his thumb.
Lelobo agreed that Dr Reddy was laughing.
Sharma then asked Lelobo if Dr Reddy specifically said to vote for him.
Lelobo said Dr Reddy has said if the government is stepping in.
Sharma asked Lelobo if he knew about his political rights and if anyone had prevented him from voting.
He said he knew his rights and no one stopped him from voting.
Lelobo also said nothing was done to interfere with his right to vote secretly.
Sharma asked Lelobo if any undue influence had been exerted on him.
He said yes and it was that day because of the water.
The trial will resume tomorrow at 10 am when FICAC will produce its second witness.
FICAC has confirmed that it will call four witnesses at the trial.
Dr Reddy pleaded not guilty to one count of corruption and one count of abuse of influence before Chief Magistrate Usaia Ratuvili.
It is alleged that Doctor Mahendra Reddy on or around May 8 of this year in Rakiraki in order to influence the vote of Waisea Lelobo, the principal of Ra High School, directly conferred or offered to confer a benefit, namely a stable water source for LycÃ©e Ra.
It is also alleged that Dr Reddy, on or around May 8 of this year, in Rakiraki, interfered with the free exercise or exercise of a political right by Waisea Lelobo which is relevant to the 2018 elections.