5 Mar 2003

Fiji opposition leader accuses government of impeding coup investigations

11:20 am on 5 March 2003

Fiji's opposition leader, Mick Beddoes, has accused the Qarase government of trying to cover up those involved in the May 2000 coup and the ethnic violence and upheaval that followed.

The Fiji Times quotes Mr Beddoes as saying there is a clear perception by people that the government and its law enforcement agencies are part of an elaborate cover-up.

Mr Beddoes says the government continually votes against any calls for a commission of inquiry or corruption inquiries or anything that would help create transparency.

He says the government's inaction, coupled with a long-drawn-out police investgation which has revealed nothing significant, has raised questions about their ability to undertake such a task.

Mr Beddoes says as long as law enforcement agencies continue to drag their feet on matters relating to the coup and prosecuting those responsible, innocent people will continue to get hurt and be unfairly judged, while the guilty stay free.

Earlier, Mr Beddoes had said he would support moves for a reduction in the life sentence of coup front man, George Speight, in return for information about those who really planned and funded the coup.