26 Jan 2006

Fiji military pushes finance ministry to obey court order

4:29 pm on 26 January 2006

Fiji's military has demanded that the finance ministry comply with a High Court order quashing the budget surcharge imposed on its commander, Commodore Frank Bainimarama.

Radio Fiji quotes the military's legal services director, Major Kitione Tuinausara, as saying that despite advice from the attorney general's chamber for the ministry to comply, it has remained adamant on deducting Commodore Bainimarama's salary.

Major Tuinausara says the finance ministry's blatant disregard of the court order is a bad reflection on the government.

Justice Jiten Singh quashed the surcharge against Commodore Bainimarama in October last year.

But the commander's salary is still being deducted at the rate of 230-US dollars a fortnight to cover the surcharge of 29,400 US dollars for overspending the military budget by more than 4.8 million US dollars in 2003.

Major Tuinausara is questioning why Mr Uluinaceva is still seeking further legal advice when even the attorney general's office advised the ministry to comply with the order.

Justice Singh has given the ministry until the 30th of this month to comply or it could be facing charges of contempt of court.