30 Apr 2004

Fiji police treat Ratu Mara video as evidence in coup probe

6:31 am on 30 April 2004

Fiji police are using an interview with the late former president, Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara, as evidence in their investigations into the coup.

In an interview televised in Fiji on Wednesday night, Ratu Mara said that, at a meeting at Government House, he had accused the former prime minister, Sitiveni Rabuka, and the former police commissioner, Isikia Savua, of being involved in the coup, and they gave him evasive replies.

Ratu Mara also said the two men, and the army commander, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, were among a group of people who had asked him to step down from the presidency.

He also expressed frustration with statements made at the time of the coup, from Colonel Alfred Tuatoko, whom George Speight tried to name as his army commander.

Fiji TV reports that Ratu Mara's strong statements and the naming of names is being viewed by police as new evidence in their coup investigations.

Police say they'll review the one hour-long interview and lay new coup charges if the need arises.

Meanwhile, police say they are also closing in on investigations into the involvement of their own officers in the coup and an announcement is expected next week.