19 Sep 2002

Fiji lawyer says president must accept resignation of army officer

11:11 am on 19 September 2002

The lawyer for controversial Fiji army officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Filipo Tarakinikini, says he'll be seeking damages after winning a high court case over his client's attempt to resign.

Samuela Matawalu says the army must now accept Tarakinikini's resignation which it had refused to do.

Tarakinikini, who was allegedly involved in the coup, had also refused an army request to return to Fiji from the U.S. to testify in the court martial of other army officers held for mutiny.

Mr Matawalu says he's waiting to hear if the president, as commander-in-chief of the armed forces, has accepted the resignation but he will be seeking damages.

"The respondents are liable for damages to Tarakinikini. Submissions for that will be done in January next year, or if we can settle out of court with the respondents before that date, that's even better. First of all, we'll see if we can tee up a meeting with the attorney-general's office and the military and see if we can sort it out."

Mr Matawalu says Tarakinikini is likely to remain in the U.S. and pursue a job offer from the United Nations.