20 Jun 2005

Fiji PM confirms he refused contract renewal of former DPP deputy

4:02 pm on 20 June 2005

Fiji's prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, has admitted that he refused the former deputy director of public prosecutions, Peter Ridgway, a short term contract to return to the country.

Mr Qarase has told Radio Legend that there was no need for Mr Ridgway to return for a few weeks only when he should have trained someone to do his job during his four years in Fiji.

Mr Qarase says the fact that Mr Ridgway was the lead prosecutor in the coup trials was not the basis for his decision.

Mr Qarase says it appears that all arrangements had been made for Mr Ridgway to return from Australia even before he was asked to agree to a contract and he thought it was a little too much.

Mr Ridgway said last week that it was the prime minister's pique as much as anything else that resulted in him not being allowed to continue helping in coup cases.

He has been given until the end of the week to leave Fiji.