9 Dec 2005

Fiji Labour leader seeks gag order against PM

9:20 am on 9 December 2005

The Fiji Labour Party leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, is seeking an injunction to gag the prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, and Fiji TV.

The Fiji Times reports that Mr Chaudhry wants a High Court order to stop Mr Qarase and Fiji TV from making further references to allegations that he had sought commissions from a US$52 million loan from India to restructure the sugar industry.

The application to gag Mr Qarase is part of a defamation and slander writ seeking damages filed by Mr Chaudhry.

Mr Chaudhry says he filed the writ after Mr Qarase and Fiji TV failed to retract the allegation and apologise within a 72-hour deadline he had given them.

In the writ, Mr Chaudhry says unless the courts restrain Mr Qarase and Fiji TV from publishing words defamatory to Mr Chaudhry, they would continue doing so.

Mr Chaudhry says he has been through this kind of mudslinging and character assassination before every general election.

A spokesman for the Prime Minister's Office says Mr Qarase will hold a news conference today to provide evidence to support his allegations.