15 May 2002

The head of Fiji's agriculture ministry face 61 charges of abuse of office

9:26 am on 15 May 2002

Fiji's public service commission has laid 61 charges against the suspended head of the agriculture ministry, Peniasi Kunatba, in connection with the 13 million US dollar farming assistance scam.

The Daily Post reports that the charges are all related to abuse of office.

Mr Kunatuba, his two deputies and several other senior officials of the ministry remain suspended on full pay while police investigations continue.

His lawyer, Tevita Fa, says he has asked for another two weeks to respond to the charges.

But he cliams there is a personal agenda behind the charges and he has asked for an additional 14 days to respond to them.

Mr Fa claims when the thruth comes out allthose implicated and found guilty will be a shock to the nation.

Mr Kunatuba has not yet filed his threatened legal action against the prime minister to force his reinstatement despite the deadline being passed three weeks ago.