23 Feb 2007

Fiji interim administration to investigate early release of jailed former vice president

10:23 am on 23 February 2007

Fiji's interim attorney general has ordered an investigation into the early release from prison of the jailed former vice president, Ratu Jope Seniloli.

Seniloli was jailed for four years in August 2004 after he was convicted of taking an illegal oath to commit a capital offence purporting to become the president of Fiji during the Speight coup while the then president, Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara, still held office.

After the Fiji Court of Appeal dismissed Seniloli's appeal against the conviction and sentence, the then attorney general, Qoriniasi Bale, released him on a compulsory supervision order.

Mr Bale cited a medical report as his justification for doing so.

The interim attorney general, Aiyaz Sayed-Khayum, says no one has seen that medical report which is missing from the ministry of justice.

Mr Sayed-Khayum says he has ordered an investigation to determine whether that medical report was obtained properly.

He says should any improprieties be revealed, the appropriate authorities will be informed.

Mr Sayed-Khayum says there had been widespread condemnation of the decision to release Seniloli, especially as he had committed a serious offence and had served only a few months of his sentence.