10 Businessmen Under Investigation, Police Confirm
Issue No: 869 20 June 2001
The Police Department has confirmed that 10 ethnic Indian businessmen are under investigation for financing the terrorists who took over the Parliament Complex last year and held the elected government hostage for 56 days.
The head of the police investigation unit, Assistant Superintendent of Police, Waisea Tabakau said that the 10 have been under investigation for some time. He also stated that some current Cabinet Ministers, five Great Council of Chiefs members, some part-Fijian businessmen, army officers, civil servants and Indo-Fijian politicians are also being investigated, some of whom would be charged during the course of the investigation.
It is widely known that the ethnic Indian politicians referred to are those belonging to the National Federation Party. The NFP had earlier denied that any of its members or supporters had any hand in the terrorist activities.
Of the ethnic Indian businessmen, Tabakau told the media: "Some helped with hard cash financing the coup, while others provided food, groceries, beddings and transport."
Tabakau also confirmed that some people who were linked to the National Bank of Fiji saga have also been questioned. He said: "One big fish is caught but some other big ones are still enjoying the open air but the law is above everyone and whoever had a hand will face the full brunt of the law."
Former Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka, military's Filipo Tarakinikini, and Vice President Jope Seniloli have also been investigated and reports are to be submitted to the Prosecution office soon.
Tabakau confirmed that some people who were well-placed were hindering his investigations.
It is believed that the Qarase regime, Police Commissioner Isikia Savua, and some businessmen have been actively lobbying for an end to the investigations.
Tabakau stated that his team had until 2 May 2002 to complete the investigations.
The elected Prime Minister has hit out at the 2 year deadline, saying that the time frame was too long. He stated: "The police have all the information they need. They need to step up the process so that justice is not delayed".
Meanwhile the Suva Retailers Association has joined the Fiji Chamber of Commerce, the Fiji Times and the National Federation Party and hit out at the investigations. The Retailers claimed that none of their 120 members were in any way involved with the terrorists. It also called as "baseless" the statements made by the Fiji Labour Party that some ethnic Fijian businessmen had financed the terrorists.
Police blamed for release of terrorists Issue No: 868 20 June 2001
The military has blamed the Savua-led Police Force for the release of 10 terrorists arrested from the Kalabu Fijian Primary School last year.
The 10 were freed last month when two key witnesses from the military failed to turn up at the court.
The two are the military's Deputy Commander Alfred Tuatoko, and Lt. Col Jone Baledrokadroka. The two are away abroad attending courses and seminars.
The military stated that the Police department failed to inform the military's legal section that the two were required to be present at the court at certain dates. The military stated that unless it was formally informed of militarymen to be present in the court, it could not enforce the presence of the soldiers in the court.
It is believed that the freeing up of the terrorists was designed as a test case for other terrorists. Disgraced Police Commissioner Isikia Savua and Chief Magistrate Salesi Temo's names have been associated with this conspiracy.
Meanwhile Temo's contract is expiring this month. The contract cannot be renewed without consultation between an elected government and the Parliamentary Opposition.
It is believed that the Chief Justice, Sir Timoci Tuivaga has been pushing for a renewal of the contract.
Another Garment factory closes Issue No: 867 20 June 2001
Another garment factory closed its doors yesterday.
The Lautoka based DVH Textile Mills (Fiji) Ltd, did not open for business on Tuesday when workers returned to work. Over 100 workers worked for the factory.
Over the past year, numerous factories have shut their doors in Lautoka. These include Trident Garments, Radar Pacific, DG Garments, Nu Star Garments, and Victoria Apparels. Some factories in Suva have also shut down, while some have been burnt under suspicious circumstances.
The closure of the factories has been attributed to the termination of the tax-free factory scheme, and to the terrorist activities. Year 2000's terrorist activities, which was allegedly financed by some businessmen associated with the garment industry, caused a collapse in the ability of the country to supply materials reliably. But the single most important cause of the collapse of the industry has been the expiring tax-free status of most factories.
The military backed regime after the 1987 coups had introduced a 13-year tax-free factory scheme in 1989. These benefits have now begun expiring, thereby leading some factories to quit the industry.
Meanwhile the garment industry is holding the Qarase regime hostage and demanding that new tax-free measures be granted to it.
The Qarase regime is illegal and any measure which it arrives at can not have any legal effect.
Qarase should be investigated Issue No: 866 20 June 2001
Usurping regime's Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase should be investigated for breach of the Public Order Act, says the Deputy Prime Minister in the People's Coalition Government, Adi Kuini Speed.
Mrs Speed is quoted by the media as saying that the statements made by Qarase on ethnic Fijians and ethnic Indians, and the Constitution had incited ill-feeling in Fiji and could be a causse for public disorder. She called for an investigation and for charges to be laid against him.
Meanwhile, Qarase's political party, the SDL (Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua) has defended Qarase saying that Qarase "has never made racist comments about any other community".
The entire nation has condemned Qarase for his racism. The most recent condemnation has come from the People's Organisation for Indo-Fijian Rights and Land Resolution.
Qarase and many member of his party are bogged down with allegations of their involvement with the terrorists. The Party's Vice President has already been charged with inciting the 2 November attempted coup and failed mutiny. Another supporter, a businessman, is currently under investigation for financing the terrorists. Qarase himself has been alleged to have been involved in plotting the deposition of the elected government.