23 Apr 2004

Fiji police say reluctant witnesses hamper probe in Mara departure

3:01 pm on 23 April 2004

Police in Fiji say investigations surrounding the alleged duping of the president to step down during the 2000 coup is being hampered by reluctant witnesses.

The late Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara stepped down as president after a group, including several prominent public figures, saw Mr Mara removed from office.

A spokesman for the police, Mesake Koroi, says there is a lot of heresay and rumours going around that won't stand up in a court of law.

Mr Koroi says they are finding it hard to get witnesses to testify.

"It's very difficult to try to get people to come forward and say, yes, this is what actually happened. There's a lot of rumours that are flying around, there's a lot of hearsay going around, but you know in a democracy and in a court of law for those allegations to hold any water, you need people to get people to come forward and give direct evidence. Unfortunately we are hitting a brick wall in our investigations at the moment."

Mesake Koroi, a spokesman for Fiji police.