6 Jun 2002

Fiji court martial is told two ministers were aware of the November 2000 mutiny plan

8:28 am on 6 June 2002

The court martial of 15 Fiji soldiers charged with the November 2000 army mutiny has been told that two ministers of the then interim administration were aware of plans to stage the uprising.

According to a Fiji times report, a member of the rebel Counter Revolutionary Warfare Unit told police that the then interim finance minister, Ratu Jone Kubuabola, and the home affairs minister, Ratu Talemo Ratakele, were allegedly in the know.

They were also updated on the events at the army barracks in Suva as the mutiny took place.

The rebel soldier, Private Jolame Ledua, told police taht Ratu Telemo had made arrangements with the mutiny leader, Captain Shane stevens, to organise a busload of civilians to back up the operation.

In his statement, Private Ledua said he overheard Captain stevens saying on his mobile phone not to tell the finance minister until after the camp was taken but the home affairs minister was OK.

Another accused said Captain Stevens had assured the rebel soldiers that Naitasiri high chief, Ratu Inoke Takiveikata and his people were behind the mutiny.

Ratu Jone Kubuabola remains the finance minister in the current government while Ratu Inoke is a vice president of the ruling SDL party and is facing a charge of conspiracy in connection with the mutiny.

The court martial will continue today.