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Regime Allegations Agains NZ High Commissioner

Regime Alleges NZ High Commissioner Wanted Chaudhry Removed
Issue No: 229; 27 November 2000

The interim regime's Information Minister and Leader of SVT, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola says that the NZ High Commissioner, Tia Barrett told him before 19 May that Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry should be removed from office.

According to the Radio Fiji's evening news today (27 November), Ratu Inoke said that Barrett went to see him in his office and stated that Chaudhry had to go.

Radio Fiji quoted the New Zealand High Commission as denying the Kubuabola allegation.

The allegation comes in response to Barrett's expression of concern at the delay in prosecuting the terrorists, and the statements that indigenous rights do not mean subversion of human rights. Barrett was speaking at a function at the USP's Journalism program. The full text of Barrett's address is found on the USP's journalism website (see: http://www.usp.ac.fj/journ/docs/news/usp29awards00.html).

According to Pacnews, New Zealand's Foreign Affairs Minister Phil Goff has supported Barrett's claims. Goff said High Commissioner Tia Barrett had his full backing and support - saying the statement was factual. He said George Speight was not the mastermind of the coup and that "more important people" that have yet to be brought to account - but are unlikely to ever be charged.

Meanwhile, the Fiji Trades Union Congress has accused the interim regime of corruption. The accusation comes after the revelation that the regime approved NZODA funding for the treatment of terrorist George Speight's lawyer Vodo Tuberi who is on the black list of New Zealand government but managed to slip into NZ for medical treatment.

FTUC's Acting National secretary Rajeshwar Singh says that both, the Ministry of Health and the PM's office know that the scheme is intended to help those who have no source of income and need to go overseas for life saving treatment. Approving the funds for Tuberi is highly questionable.

Since the revelation of Tuberi's NZODA funding, the New Zealand government withdrew the funding.

Today, the interim regime announced that it will pay for Tuberi's treatment, costing over $16,000.

Tuberi was a frequent visitor to the Parliament Complex when the terrorists held the government hostage. He was a key advisor to Speight.

END


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