4 Sep 2002

Calls for Fiji senator to step down over role in army muntiny

5:33 am on 4 September 2002

There are calls in Fiji for the Naitasiri paramount chief and government senator, Ratu Inoke Takiveikata, to resign from the Upper House for his role in the November 2000 army mutiny which claimed 8 lives.

It follows a police statement by the leader of the mutineers, Captain Shane Stevens, read out in their court martial which named Ratu Inoke as the main organiser of the mutiny along with two senior military officers and former prime minister, Sitiveni Rabuka.

A Radio Fiji report says the Fiji Labour Party wants Ratu Inoke to step down from the senate until the matter is thoroughly investigated.

Labour President, Senator Jokapeci Koroi, says Ratu Inoke should personally reply to these very serious allegations of his involvement.

Mrs Koroi has also condemned the pace at which the inquiry is being conducted and called for the speedy resolution of all issues connected with it.

It was disclosed in court last year that Ratu Inoke faces a travel ban in Australia and New Zealand but he accompanied the prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, on his official visit to China in may.

Meanwhile, Col Ulaiai Vatu, who was also named by Stevens, sdays he is innocent and will make a statement later in the week.

Mr Rabuka has declined to comment on his alleged involvement.