20 Mar 2004

Fiji military commander says head of PM's office is a threat to national security

9:17 am on 20 March 2004

Fiji's military commander, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, wants two more officials from the home affairs ministry and the head of the prime minister's office, Jioji Kotobalavu removed.

The Daily Post reports that this follows comments by Mr Kotobalavu on Fiji TV last night in which he said that with the transfer of the former home affairs chief executive, Col Jeremia Waqanisau, Commodore Bainimarama and the military must fall in line.

But commodore Bainimarama says home affairs deputy Dr Lesi Korovavala and Ben Lomaloma must also step down because they are " a threat to national security."

And he says Mr Kotobalavu is "just as big a threat."

Commodore Bainimarama says for the last 12 months he has been telling the government to remove them but they are still around.

The military commander says he has wonderful relations with the minister for home affairs, Joketani Cokanasiga, who is a rational and excellent person but these officials have to go.

Commodore Bainimarama says Mr KotoBalavu was "coming to the army camp with his proposals during the coup but today he is talking about loyalty."