10 Jan 2003

Fiji soldiers in Lebanon cleared of smuggling charges

11:22 am on 10 January 2003

A board of inquiry appointed by the Fiji army has cleared a group of Fiji soldiers accused of being part of a smuggling ring.

The soldiers were accused of transporting liquor and other duty free goods from their base in southern Lebanon to refugee camps in the area.

The soldiers reportedly accepted money to pay off their debts with Lebanese businessmen, but the board found that no breaches of military, local or international laws took place.

An army spokesman says the goods were obtained in accordance with provisions and entitlements under the UNIFIL duty free privileges.

Fiji soldiers withdrew from the UNIFIL mission in Lebanon last month after 24 years service.