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Tribunal warns Fiji Sun over police chief inquiry

FIJI: Tribunal warns Fiji Sun over police chief inquiry


* Pacific Media Watch Online: http://www.pmw.c2o.org * Post a comment on PMW's Right of Reply: http://www.TheGuestBook.com/egbook/257949.gbook

TRIBUNAL WARNS FIJI SUN

SUVA: The Fiji Islands tribunal investigating the alleged involvement of Police Commissioner Isikia Savua in the May 19 takeover has instructed the Fiji Sun to refrain from making public the contents of submissions made by police officers against the police chief, the Fiji Sun reports.

A letter sent to the newspaper said that the Fiji Sun should not have access to the confidential statement of the Fiji Consumers Association that submitted statements on behalf of the police officers or any other statement that is provided to the tribunal confidentially.

The Fiji Sun highlighted in its front-page stories on 10-11 October 2000 statements made by officers against Commissioner Savua on his alleged involvement both before and after the coup [led by failed businessman George Speight].

The letter read:

"Take notice that if any further articles are written from statements/submissions that are before the tribunal, then the tribunal will apply to the High Court of Fiji for appropriate remedies against the Fiji Sun, including an application for contempt proceedings to be instituted against the Fiji Sun."

The submission by police officers included:

* How rebel arms were transported in police vehicles to Parliament on May 20.

* How a police vehicle was sent to cart food from Naitasiri to the Parliament.

* The diverting of the Police Mobile Unit at the height of the crisis and many other incidents where the commssioner [allegedly] used his power to aid and abet the takeover of Parliament.

Media reports earlier said that whatever the outcome of the tribunal will be, it would not be made public.

Various organisations have slammed the decision by the tribunal to withhold the contents of the proceedings against Commissioner Savua.

National Federation Party secretary Attar Singh said the Savua inquiry was a matter of public interest and should be made public.

Fiji Public Service Association general secretary Rajeshwar Singh said there was no law stating that whatever was said to a tribunal could not be made public.

+++niuswire

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