27 Jan 2004

Decision on Fiji army commander's future expected this week

4:15 pm on 27 January 2004

The Fiji government and the military are refusing to comment on reports that the army commander has been offered a new contract.

But, Fiji TV says highly placed sources within the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Army have both confirmed that Commodore Frank Bainimarama has the new contract in front of him, but it has yet to be signed.

The minister of information, Simione Kaitani, wouldn't say whether the government had offered to renew the commander contract, which is due to expire next month.

Mr Kaitani says, however, that a recommendation about the position has gone from the Ministry of Home Affairs to the president's office which is expected to make an announcement about it later this week.

"The decision has to be from the office of the president and we will respect that right to make a decision in their own time. And, that is where the decision is at the moment. I have been reliably informed that they're going to make a decision soon on that but we really do not know at the moment what exactly is that decision. It is all up to the office of the president who is the deciding authority."

The issue has been acrimonious with the Commodore saying he wanted to remain in the post to ensure that all those involved with the coup are prosecuted.