12 Mar 2003

Fiji's Deputy Speaker denies any involvement in May 2000 coup

8:32 am on 12 March 2003

The deputy Speaker of Fiji's House of Representatives says police have already questioned him extensively over his alleged involvement in the May 2000 coup.

Ratu Rakuita Vakalalabure, who was sworn in as the attorney general in George Speight's failed administration, has told the Daily Post he answered all police questions over three days before the 2001 general election.

Ratu Rakuita's comments came in response to a report that police have begun fresh investigations into his role as well as that of former police commissioner and now Fiji's ambassador to the United Nations, Col Isikia Savua.

Two others under renewed investigation are the commissioner of prisons, Aisea Taoka, and the high commissioner to Papua New Guinea and opposition leader at the time of the coup, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola.

Ratu Rakuita said it was totally false to say, as the prosecutor in the Nata and Silatolu treason trial had done, that he had conspired with others and planned the overthrow of the Chaudhry government.He maintains his innocence, saying that if he had been guilty, police would have forwarded his file to the director of public prosecutions.

Ratu Rakuita, a lawyer, is currently facing disciplinary action by the Fiji Law Society for his conduct during the coup.