11 Nov 2006

Fiji army officer testifies against Sitiveni Rabuka

7:35 am on 11 November 2006

The senior Fiji army officer who Sitiveni Rabuka allegedly tried to incite to stage a mutiny has begun giving evidence against the former prime minister and army commander.

Lt Col Viliame Seruvakula, who was the commander of the 3rd Battalion Fiji Infantry Regiment during the crisis of 2000, said rebels had planned to kidnap Commodore Bainimarama on his arrival at Nadi Airport a few days after the coup but this was foiled by soldiers.

He said on the 4h of July 2000 Rabuka called him on his mobile phone and asked him to assess Commodore Bainimarama's support and get rid of him.

Lt Col Seruvakula said if he had agreed, he could have done so because he had a thousand troops under his command.

But, he said, he did not do what Rabuka proposed because it was not right and not in accordance with the values and ethics of an institution like the military.

Earlier, the prosecutor, Mark Tedeschi QC of Australia, told Justice Gerard Winter that Rabuka had wanted Commodore Bainimarama removed so be could take over the military and regain power over Fiji.