20 Jan 2004

Police complaints against Fiji army officers

9:06 am on 20 January 2004

Fiji's ministry of home affairs has lodged a complaint with the police against a senior army officer for an alleged threat he made against a ministry official.

The Fiji Times reports that the threat was made against the chief executive of the ministry, Col Jeremaia Waqanisau, in the presence of the minister, Joketani Cokanasiga.

The police commissioner, Andrew Hughes, has confirmed that there was what he calls a vigorous discussion on a complaint filed by a home affairs official but would not reveal any details.

In a separate incident, a senior military official has lodged a complaint with the ministry of home affairs, saying they had been forced to state their allegiance to the army commander, Commodore Frank Bainimarama.

The officer says those who did not wish to state their allegiance had been told to go on leave or resign.

The former prime minister, Sitiveni Rabuka, who seized control of the army after deposing his commander during the 1987 coup, says he had also called his officers and asked them to pledge their allegiance to him.

Mr Rabuka says if officers leak this information, it says a lot about their allegiance.

Mr Rabuka says he had commended Commodore Bainimarama's performance to Col Waqanisau on one occasion, but was told former MPs should not interfere with the affairs of the government.