20 Aug 2004

Fiji's Chiefs' chairman condemns leaked letter

7:10 am on 20 August 2004

The chairman of Fiji's Great Council of Chiefs, Ratu Ovini Bokini, has condemned the leaking of a letter on the legal status of the jailed vice president, Ratu Jope Seniloli.

The letter giving preliminary legal advice to the chiefs' council was written by the attorney general, Qoriniasi Bale, and leaked to the Citizens Constitutional Forum which publicised it.

Radio Fiji quotes Ratu Ovini as saying the letter must have been obtained by dishonest means and he describes the actions of the CCF as deplorable.

But the CCF's executive director, the Reverend Akuila Yabaki, says they didn't steal the letter.

Rather, it was brought to the CCF office by people who believed the attorney general's advice was unconstitutional and that he had recommended a political course of action which undermined the rule of law.

The Reverend Yabaki says it's not the first time their office has received such documents and their work is to expose them, in the interests of the nation.