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Fiji: Intelligence reports were withheld from Govt

Issue No: 717 1 May 2001

Intelligence reports on the activities of the days prior to 19 May were not given to the government.

Earlier it was reported that the failure of the Police Department to provide intelligence reports led the Cabinet to summon the Commissioner of Police to a cabinet meeting in late April. The Commissioner, Isikia Savua, and his top officers, assured the cabinet that there was no security threat to the nation, the people, or the cabinet. (see also: http://www.pcgov.org.fj/docs_c/savua_lrv_13dec.htm).

Yesterday the former Official Secretary at Government House, Jo Browne stated that there was a conspiracy in the security forces to conceal information and to remove the president Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara.

Browne says that the conspiracy involved withdrawing military guards around the Government House on the day he was `evacuated' from Government House to a navy vessel.

Browne also states that intelligence reports were deliberately withheld from the President. He is quoted by the Fiji Times as saying that he was in constant communication with the dissident groups from April 20 and could sense increasing political and social tension. The Sun reports Browne as saying that the security forces.

Browne has also called for Savua to step aside. The Fiji Sun quotes him as saying: "Mr. Savua should be the first person to step aside and allow someone else to run the police force".

Browne also claims that people funded the dissidents: "At first it started with people who were against Chaudhry and gave financial and moral support. However, these people were not expecting things to end up in a coup. That's why they backed out when the cause took on a vanua face".

Browne also claimed that some senior officers who were responsible for the 19 may crisis are still in the military.

Yesterday the CRW soldiers charged with mutiny claimed that some officers who are still in the military were responsible for supplying arms to the terrorists.

Earlier the military's Commander of the third battalion, Lt. Col. Viliame Seruvakula stated that some senior officers in the army were supporters of the terrorists.

END

Regime defies Court Order; reappoints CRC

Issue No: 719 1 May 2001

The Qarase regime has again defied a High Court order and convinced the President to reappoint the Constitution Review Committee.

All the commissioners, except Fred Achari who resigned and Apenisa Kurisiqila who passed away, were reappointed through Presidential warrants on 10 April and sworn in yesterday.

Earlier the High Court had ordered all work relating to the CRC to be put to a stop and the commissioners be stopped payments.

According to sources, the re-appointments done in the insistence of the Prime Minister's Office.

The terms of reference state that the Commission is to review the 1997 Constitution and provide a report to the President by 31 August.

The decision is a clear indication that the regime continues to have no respect for law and order. Earlier it had defied the Fiji Court of Appeal ruling that Qarase regime was illegal, and that the 1997 Constitution was still valid and the Parliament still in place. The Qarase regime was reappointed by the President.

Meanwhile, the NGO Coalition for Human Rights has stated that the President Ratu Josefa Iloilo is not fit to appropriately address the problems within the judiciary because of his old age and poor health.

END

Police claim it has been investigating its Commissioner, Rabuka

Issue No: 718 1 May 2001

The Police Department claims that it has been investigating its own Commissioner, Isikia Savua, and Sitiveni Rabuka.

Today's Fiji Sun quotes the CID's Inspector Waisea Tabakau as saying:

"Rabuka and the Commissioner were always on our list of those being investigated by us for their involvement in the May 19 coup. Rabuka is being questioned and we are aware that his name came up in Close-Up again". But Tabakau implied that the Public Service Commission inquiry into Savua had cleared him and that seemed the put the matter to rest.

Numerous hostages had reportedly given statements to the Police in September last year saying that Rabuka and Savua were the leaders of the terrorists.

In another development, the former Secretary at Government House, Joseph Browne claims that a CRW soldier now charged with treason has videotapes of all political destabilisation meetings that took place before 19 May. Her says that the person will tender the tapes as evidence in the courts to defend himself if there were no other alternative than a mandatory life sentence for treason charges. Browne is quoted by the Sun as saying: "Why are we attempting to crush the small fishes when the sharks are allowed to roam free?"

Meanwhile in a statement the military said: "The RFMF is satisfied that recent statements in the media have revitalised the investigative process into the events of May 19th. It is confidence that the truth will prevail and those responsible will be brought to justice".

The military did not comment on the claims that some senior officers who wer ein league with the terrorists are still in the military.

END

Chiefs ask military to apologise to Mara

Issue No: 716 1 May 2001

The Great Council of Chiefs has reportedly asked the military to formally apologise to the former President Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara.

The call comes after the revelations by Mara that he did not know the reasons why he was removed from the Government House. The revelations are contained in an interview played on Fiji TV's Close-up program on Sunday. (see: transcript of the interview at http://www.pcgov.org.fj/docs_o/mara_interview_29april.htm)

Media reports that each of the 14 provinces will be providing a tabua (whale's tooth) to the military for the apology.

It is understood that the military commander Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama was not too pleased with the decision, claiming that removing Mara was the only way in which the military could impose martial law. The military's decision came after the military council deliberated on the matter. The military council, formed after the terrorists struck, comprised Bainimarama, senior officers of the army, and former army commanders (Rabuka, Nailatikau and Ganilau). Earlier in a speech in Canberra, Rabuka stated that he wanted the military council to appoint a government comprising him, military officers, and some politicians.

END


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