11 May 2004

Fiji National Security Council to meet about allegations against army commander

3:41 pm on 11 May 2004

Fiji's National Security Council meets this week to assess the authenticity of allegations that the army commander plotted to overthrow the government.

The information minister, Simione Kaitani, says the prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, as chairman of the NSC, will then make a decision on what action to take.

Three suspended senior army officers claim that the commander, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, wanted plans drawn up last December to get rid of the government over concerns he wouldn't be re-appointed to his post.

Mr Kaitani says the government is taking the matter seriously.

"The purpose of the meeting of the National Security Council is really, to find out, the exact, the actual details, to determine the authenticity of such allegations itself. And, maybe that will also enable the government and the prime minister, the minister for home affairs to position themselves in terms of what to do next, the next steps."

Mr Kaitani says despite the police not investigating because a formal complaint hasn't been laid by the army officers, the government is moving because of the seriousness of the allegations.