19 Apr 2005

Fiji home affairs minister warns military commander

10:22 am on 19 April 2005

Fiji's home affairs minister, Josefa Vosanibola, has warned the military commander, Commodore Bainimarama, not to make any more public statements without his consent.

The warning follows a weekend statement by Commodore Bainimarama in which he criticised the release of two government MPs after only 11 days of their eight-month sentence for offences related to the Labasa army mutiny during the coup.

Commodore Bainimarama said while the 58 soldiers they had incited to commit mutiny were serving their sentences ranging from three years to life, the two chiefs were walking free thanks to corrupt decision makers.

Mr Vosanibola says he's told the commander not to make any statements which may affect national security, public safety or public order without consulting him first.

The minister says Commodore Bainimarama will be disciplined if he makes another public statement.

But last night the military spokesman, Captain Neumi Leweni, told Fiji TV the military "will continue to voice its opinion and put pressure on those who seek to manipulate the law."