2 Jul 2004

Former Fiji army spokesman Tarakinikini to face unspecified charges

2:22 pm on 2 July 2004

Fiji's military commander, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, has revealed that charges will be laid against the army spokesman at the time of the coup, Lt Col Filipo Tarakinikini.

Radio Legend quotes Commodore Bainimarama as saying that charges against the Lt Col Tarakinikini are being formalised, but he was not at liberty to disclose their nature.

The army response came after Lt Col Tarakinikini's lawyer, Samuela Matawalu, said his client was willing to testify in the hearings of the yet-to-be appointed commission of inquiry into allegations that Commodore Bainimarama had planned to overthrow the Qarase government unless his term as commander was renewed.

Commodore Bainimarama says members of the military know that every person who was involved in the coup or the mutiny will face charges, and even if he, that is Commodore Bainimarama, goes after the commission of inquiry, the charges will not be forgone.

Earlier news reports had said that the military wanted to question Lt Col Tarakinikini on his alleged involvement in the November 2000 mutiny which was aimed at assassinating Commodore Bainimarama and freeing George Speight.

The officer, who is on secondment to the United Nations, attempted to resign from overseas but this was rejected by the military, a decision upheld by the Supreme Court.