Former Australian Idol contestant Paulini Curuenavuli faces potential jail time after allegedly paying an official in exchange for a New South Wales’ drivers licence.
The Fijian-born singer, who is currently playing the role of Rachel Marron in The Bodyguard musical in Brisbane, could receive a maximum penalty of seven years in jail if found guilty of the charges.
A NSW Police spokesperson told The New Daily that the 34-year-old would be charged with corruptly giving a benefit to a NSW Roads and Maritime Services agent in exchange for an unrestricted licence.
The spokesperson did not disclose the amount of the alleged bribe, but reports suggest Paulini allegedly transferred $800 into the bank account of an RMS employee.
NSW police said Paulini was issued a future court attendance notice on Friday, June 30 – only days before she sang the national anthem at the final State of Origin match in Brisbane – and is also due to appear at Mount Druitt Local Court on Wednesday, August 16.
It is unclear if the court appearance will affect Paulini’s role in The Bodyguard, based on the hit 1990s movie starring Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner.
Paulini’s lawyer Michael Korn told the ABC: “She is aware of the gravity of the charges she is facing. No further comment will be made at this stage given the matter is before the court.”
The musical production’s spokesperson told The New Daily the “show will go on” and wished to reassure patrons of the continuing Australian tour.
The tour is finishing in Brisbane and due to perform at the Regent Theatre in Melbourne from August 23.
“Paulini remains committed to performing her role in The Bodyguard,” the spokesperson said.
“The Bodyguard has only just learned of the allegations this morning.”
Paulini allegedly attempted to bribe RMS employee Faletausala Feesli Vaifale, who was charged in July 2016 on separate charges and no longer works for the service.
The 27-year-old, of Emerton in western Sydney, pleaded guilty to three charges of making a false document to influence the exercise of public duty, corruptly receiving a benefit while an agent and dealing with the proceeds of a crime, the ABC reported.
She was sentenced to 12 months’ home detention.
An RMS spokesperson declined to comment to The New Daily on the matter.
Paulini rose to national prominence in 2003 when she competed in reality-television program, Australian Idol, and is best remembered for her controversial moments with judge Ian ‘Dicko’ Dickson.
When she appeared in a tight gold bandeau-style dress, Mr Dickson famously said: “You should choose more appropriate clothes or shed some pounds.”
Paulini is not the first Australian Idol contestant to have a run-in with the law.
Fellow Young Divas member and third-season winner Kate DeAraungo was charged with driving under the influence of drugs in 2015.
DeAraungo was banned from driving for six months after testing positive to methyl amphetamine, commonly known as “ice”.