15 Jul 2004

Uncertainty remains over future of inquiry into allegations against Fiji's military commander

10:34 am on 15 July 2004

Reports from Fiji say President Iloilo has asked the prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, to scrap the commission of inquiry into allegations against the military commander, Commodore Bainimarama.

Fiji TV reports the that President's Office, the Prime Minister's Office and the military have not denied that discussions on the scrapping of the inquiry are under way.

It reports the President's Office would only say that discussions are under way between the three institutions of state but refused to reveal more.

The TV reports says the President's Office has advised the Prime Minister's Office to discontinue the commission of inquiry.

The military spokesman, Captain Neumi Leweni, says there have been communications between the three offices but he cannot comment further.

The head of the Prime Minister's Office, Jioji Kotobalavu, has directed all questions to the President's Office.

The national security council, chaired by Mr Qarase, recommended that a commission of inquiry be set up to look into the allegations by three senior suspended officers against Commodore Bainimarama that he planned to overthrow the government.

The plan is alleged to have been made when government officials were strongly opposing a renewal of Commodore Bainimarama's term as commander to enable him to pursue coup and mutiny prosecutions.