31 Jan 2006

Fiji finance ministry backs away from court defiance

8:14 am on 31 January 2006

Fiji's finance ministry has backed away from its earlier defiance of a High Court ruling, which had ordered it to reimburse deductions made from the salary of the military commander, Commodore Frank Bainimarama.

Justice Jiten Singh had quashed the surcharge imposed on Commodore Bainimarama in October last year.

But until this month the finance ministry had continued deducting the commander's salary at the rate of 230 US dollars a fortnight, to cover the surcharge of 29,400 US dollars for overspending the military's 2003 budget.

The defiance was despite advice from the solicitor general's office.

But Radio Fiji reports that the finance ministry has agreed to reimburse the deducted salary following a meeting between the ministry and the attorney general's office.

The director of legal services for the military, Major Kitione Tuinausara, has confirmed they have been notified of the decision.