18 Aug 2003

Fiji army to continue to pursue Lt. Col Filipo Tarakinikini

4:30 pm on 18 August 2003

The Fiji army says it still wants Lt. Col Filipo Tarakinikini to return to the country and its lawyers will be present when he takes his case for his resignation to the Supreme Court.

Army spokesman, Warrant officer, Neumi Leweni, says lawyers are also looking at whether it's possible to extradite Tarakinikini, who's currently in Israel, working for the United Nations Peacekeeping department.

Lt.Col Tarakinikini sent a resignation letter to the army but this was not accepted by the army and the Court of Appeal also stated that he wasn't free to resign at will.

He is launching a Supreme court case against the ruling but Warrant officer Leweni says the court was clear.

"The court pointed out that at common law an officer holding a commission in the armed forces of a country is not free to resign at will. This position has been modified by statute law in Fiji. In particular the ? act kept everyone in regulations made pursuant to orders given to the minister"

Warrant officer Neumi Leweni says they want Lt.Col Tarakinikini back in Fiji to help with their inquiry into some cases connected to the 2000 coup and to answer some allegations made against him.