More Top Stories

Rugby league

Moana target 2025 World Cup

11 November 2022

Ruta Mave: Zero tolerance for corruption- CJ Keane sends powerful message

Monday 25 March 2024 | Written by Ruta Tangiiau Mave | Published in Editorials, Opinion


Ruta Mave: Zero tolerance for corruption- CJ Keane sends powerful message
Chief Justice Patrick Keane. MELINA ETCHES/ 24032258

The happy family photo in the paper taken outside the court after the sentencing before descending the steps into the police vehicles waiting to take the three convicts to jail totally bemused me, writes Ruta Mave.

There they stand with years in the clink for them only seconds away and everyone is smiling because they are going to be in the newspaper – woohoo. Some said, “it is hard on the kids, they should take that into consideration”. Who? The judge and community or the guilty parents? Their criminal actions brought shame and suffering to their family not the judge’s sentencing.

What a champion, Chief Justice Keane is. First, he surprised us by convicting the three despite their high-status positions. Then he follows through and sends them to prison instead of tapping them on the back of their hand with a feather.

This should help restore faith back in those who work honestly and diligently towards growing our country for all to benefit, not use and abuse their privilege of position to elevate their own selfish desires. Whistleblowers should feel confident of being heard and take action.

Imagine if CJ Keane presided over past court cases involving the government. His clear message of zero tolerance for deceitful actions by members of parliament may just release us from our imposed label of the Crook Islands.

Nga Puna shows no remorse or accountability but whines he’s been duped. This same man brought shame on us as the first person trying to escape New Zealand without paying any of his student loan. He was announced as then Prime Minister Henry Puna’s nephew. He arrives here and is given a cushy job by Uncle Henry. Now he is going to jail not because he was duped but because his entitled attitude and actions were exposed. In the photo, he is dressed like a tourist and has the biggest grin, possibly because for the next five years, he gets free accommodation, and three meals a day, while someone else looks after his kids. Zero responsibility, he wins again. Definitely something to smile about.

Robert (Tapaitau) did as he was told and stood for election, then continued to do as he was told. A nice man trying to help others was led into this trap of fraud, theft and conspiracy and got convicted for it, it’s not his fault, he was used. If this is true then changes to outer island voting are needed so we don’t get a village docile elected in. Reality check, Robert is not nine years old as an adult he should know the difference between right and wrong. If he was brought up to be a better person, and if he was that better person, he should have confessed early, apologised, then stood down and stayed down and not wasted taxpayer’s money.

He hasn’t, he did the crime now he does the time.

If the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, then are all those with the same family name tainted? Nga is the second Puna nephew to be sent to jail. Does one bad apple spoil the whole bunch? The thought certainly crossed my mind last year when two new immigration officers Puna and Tapaitau were appointed in the remote far north. They are certainly well placed in a convenient position to allow all sorts of people to sail in under the radar. Henry Puna reportedly made an allowance for Chinese businessmen to be able to travel into the country without needing a visa. Is this still in place? What would Friends of Fiji have to say about it? This is part of the legacy families are left to deal with after another has dragged the family name through court.

If behind every man is a stronger woman, have we just let the lion into the den with the voting of Mrs Tapaitau into office? Another judge may rule the wife or daughter is not to know about the dodgy dealings of the husband, so can remain in good standing. However, if we are to believe the wife is not an idiot and therefore worthy of standing as a member of parliament then she must have known something, so by reason of association can she be trusted?

Apples aside, when a majority vote of 37 in the outer islands can majorly influence our government standings then something needs to change.

And what of Prime Minister Mark Brown who kept putting Tapaitau in office standing before the heads of state during the Pacific Forum? Brown continuously surrounds himself with suspects who have made recent and historic headlines for breaking the law. What a travesty.