Fiji's former PM Laisenia Qarase jailed for corruption

Image source, AFP
Image caption,
Laisenia Qarase was Fiji's last elected prime minister

Former Fijian Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase has been sentenced to a year in jail for corruption.

He was found guilty of nine charges involving the abuse of office and failure in discharging his duty when he served as a director of a government investment company in the 1990s.

The 71-year-old became Fiji's last elected leader in 2000, before being ousted in a military coup in 2006.

The current government says it will hold elections in 2014.

Prosecutors said Qarase had placed personal interests before that of the public when he headed Fijian Holdings from 1992 to 1995.

Qarase, who denied the charges, was removed when Commodore Voreqe "Frank" Bainimarama seized power in a bloodless coup.

He has not held elections since, despite calls from the international community.

Fiji remains suspended from the Commonwealth and is the subject of international sanctions.

This week, Australia and New Zealand agreed to restore full diplomatic ties with Fiji after expelling each other's top envoys in 2009.

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