18 Jan 2007

Fiji sugar industry official hospitalised after scuffle with military

3:48 pm on 18 January 2007

The former head of the Sugar Cane Growers Council is under observation in Lautoka Hospital after soldiers removed him from his office today.

Jaganath Sami was ousted by the military early this month following claims by Commodore Bainimarama of financial mismanagement within the organisation.

Mr Sami claims his suspension was illegal, and the High Court ordered him to return to work until his case is recalled next week.

Radio Legend reports that Mr Sami complained of chest pains when the soldiers took him to Lautoka police station for questioning.

The military spokesman, Major Neumi Leweni, says the police, not soldiers, took Mr Sami, but police deny this.

Lautoka Hugh Court judge, Justice John Connors, yesterday issued a temporary order allowing him to resume work, until his legal challenge against his removal is heard.

However Mr Sami was sacked by the President in a promulgation on Tuesday afternoon, on the advice of the interim cabinet.

Mr Sami is the first to mount a court challenge against the military commander in the wake of the military's clean-up campaign after the December 5th coup.