6 Sep 2004

Pressure from state in Fiji said to have contributed to death of former first lady

7:27 am on 6 September 2004

The ousted chairman of Fiji's Great Council of Chiefs has confirmed that the former first lady, Adi Lady Lala Mara, died under state pressure.

Ratu Epeli Ganilau has told the Fiji Sun that those responsible for his ousting are also accountable for the death of Adi Lady Lala who was his mother-in-law.

Ratu Epeli says he felt cheated by his ousting because he was "only doing his job as chairman in trying to reconstruct the shattered ethnic relationship brought about by the political turmoil."

He says this combined with pressure on Adi Lady Lala to vacate her government house and return the state vehicle did not help her ailing health.

Ratu Epeli confirmed Senator Jim Ah Koy' statement in the Upper House that the state had caused Adi Lady Lala's premature death, adding that he "was a confidant of the Mara family and was privy to such information