23 Feb 2005

Fiji military lawyers say commander shouldn't face surcharge

11:12 am on 23 February 2005

Military lawyers in Fiji says the special circumstances surrounding the army's budget mean their commander, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, shouldn't be facing a surcharge for over spending.

The lawyers have filed a legal challenge in the High Court seeking a judicial review of the government's decision.

The director of the military legal services, Major Kitione Tuinaosara, says they aren't disputing the right of the minister of finance to impose a surcharge.

But, he says they will be arguing in court that the reasons for the surcharge in this case are invalid:

"The facts of the case are wider, they had known we were going to overspend, yet they didn't do anything about it."

Major Tuinaosara says the Commodore is personally facing a bill of nearly thirty thousand U.S. dollars as a penalty for overspending the military's budget in 2003