16 Feb 2007

Fiji police to work with army in bid to charge Qarase with treason

5:01 pm on 16 February 2007

Fiji's military says the police have to work closely with the army, whether they like it or not, in a bid to charge the ousted prime minister.

The admission came amid revelations that Laisenia Qarase could face charges of treason following police investigations.

The deputy military commander, navy Captain Esala Teleni, says the army's lodged a complaint with the police over Mr Qarase's request for foreign armed intervention from Australia and New Zealand.

Captain Teleni says under Fiji's penal code, anyone instigating a foreign invasion of the country is liable to be charged with treason.

He says that the police are now investigating a military report on the matter and are in the process of gathering evidence.

"Well we have to work together for the sake of our nation. I mean the police has to come on board, whether they like it or not, they have to come with us. We have to work together for the sake of this nation and we are appreciating their support."

Captain Teleni would not say whether he thought it was likely that Mr Qarase would be charged.

But Mr Qarase has denied calling for foreign military intervention

Commenting to the Fiji Times Online, Mr Qarase says no prime minister has the authority to call for foreign military intervention because that is a cabinet matter.

Both the Australian prime minister, John Howard, and his New Zealand counterpart, Helen Clark, had confirmed receiving a request for military intervention from Mr Qarase and ruled it out.