17 Jun 2005

Fiji senator given immunity in return for giving evidence against minister

4:28 pm on 17 June 2005

A Fiji government senator has been given immunity from prosecution in return for giving evidence in the coup trial of a government minister.

Radio Legend reports that the senator is Mitieli Bulanauca and the cabinet member on trial is the minister for transport and civil aviation, Simione Kaitani.

Kaitani and three others are in the Suva High Court for taking illegal oaths to commit a capital offence by being sworn in as purported ministers in George Speight's failed administration during the coup.

Prosecution lawyer, Ashishna Prasad, told the court that Senator Bulanauca had taken the same illegal oath as the four accused.

But he later resigned from his position from the rebel administration after realising that the president, Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara, was still in executive control.

Bulanauca will be called later in the trial.

Ms Prasad said the prosecution will prove that Kaitani and the others took an oath to commit an offence even though they were under NO compulsion to do so.

She said the prosecution will also prove that the four accused took oaths which could have led to them committing treason if they had acted out their roles as rebel ministers.

The case is continuing.