Fiji’s last democratically elected leader Laisenia Qarase has been jailed on corruption charges. Mr. Qarase was sentenced on Friday to one year in prison after being found guilty of abusing his office and failing to perform his duties.
Court documents said the 71-year-old Mr. Qarase failed to disclose a private investment interest in three companies that he was helping manage in an official capacity.
His supporters said the charges were politically motivated. Mr. Qarase served six years as Prime Minister before being ousted by Fiji’s current leader, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, during a 2006 coup.
Mr. Bainimarama has made clear his disdain for Mr. Qarase. Mr. Bainimarama has promised to hold free elections in 2014. Fiji is drafting a new constitution ahead of the elections, which likely will include provisions to prevent convicted criminals running for office.