13 Dec 2005

Fiji military calls on finance minister to stop surcharge against commander

2:39 pm on 13 December 2005

Fiji's military is asking the Finance Minister to direct his staff to stop surcharge proceedings against the military commander, Commodore Frank Bainimarama.

A spokesman, Lt. Colonel Orisi Rabukawaqa, says court action by the military over the issue is continuing but they would prefer to resolve it through dialogue.

The military has filed contempt of court proceedings because the Finance Ministry is continuing to deduct money from the commander's pay over a budget overrun, even after being ordered by the high court to stop.

Lt. Colonel Rabukawaqa says the further legal action is a last resort.

And, he says they've been trying to set up a meeting with the Finance Ministry's chief executive officer for the last week but he's been unavailable.

"We're still trying to get to speak, either, to the chief executive officer or even the minister of finance himself, and request him to direct his staff to actually stop the surcharge proceedings and to adhere to the court ruling. That is still going on in the background as well."

Lt. Colonel Rabukawaqa.

The Finance Minister, Ratu Jone Kubuabola and the Finance Ministry CEO, were unavailable for comment today.