27 Sep 2002

Second Fiji officer denies any role in May 2000 coup

10:32 am on 27 September 2002

A second senior Fiji military officer Lt Col Filipo Tarakinikini, has rejected allegations that he was one of the planners behind the May 2000 coup.

Lt Col Tarakinikini was named along with the acting army commander at the time, Col Alfred Tuatoko, and Col Samuela Raduva as senior officers who had approved the dispatch of soldiers and weapons to parliament for the coup which overthrew the Chaudry government.

The allegations were made by Captain Shane Stevens, the leader of the November 2000 mutineers, the same group which carried out the coup six months earlier.

Col Raduva has also denied the allegation, saying Steven's statement during the trial was full of lies and unsubstantiated allegations.

Earlier this year, Lt Col Tarakinikini refused to return from New York to answer questions about his role in the coup and the mutiny.

But the Fiji Times quotes him as saying Stevens' allegations during the court martial were hearsay and the words of a man clutching at straws.