2 Dec 2004

Fiji's Information Minister facing coup related charges

6:42 pm on 2 December 2004

Fiji's information minister, Simione Kaitani, has appeared in court charged with taking an illegal oath to commit a capital offence.

Radio Legend reports that this is the same charge on which deputy speaker Vakalabure, former vice president Seniloli and three others were found guilty and jailed in August.

The deputy director of public prosecutions, Peter Ridgeway, says Kaitani and four other men were arrested and remanded in custody until they appeared in the Suva magistrate's court this afternoon.

The others are Manasa Moce, Eroni Lewaqai, Lepani Tonitonivanua and Viliame Sausauwai.

Mr Ridgeway says the magistrate's court has referred the case to the High Court because of the serious nature of the charges.

Kaitani and other others are alleged to have taken an illegal oath and purported to become ministers in George Speight's failed administration.

All five have been released on bail and ordered to report to a police post every Sunday until they reappear in court on January 28.