8 Nov 2004

Former NLTB head implicated in mutiny during Fiji senator's trial

4:36 pm on 8 November 2004

The Suva High Court has been told that the former general manager of Fiji's Native Lands Trust Board, Maika Qarikau, was among the planners of the November 2000 mutiny which claimed eight lives.

Radio Legend says this has been revealed by the main state witness in the trial of government senator Ratu Inoke Takiveikata who is facing four charges of inciting mutiny and one of aiding in an act of mutiny.

The witness, Metuisela Turagacati, who was Takiveikata's right hand man in the mutiny, has been given immunity from prosecution in return for his testimony.

Mr Turagacati told the High Court today that the late Mr Qarikau paid for a rental car from Avis Rentals to transport him and soldiers of the Counter Revolutionary Warfare Unit to various meetings before and after the mutiny.

Mr Turagacati said the meetings were held in secret on Takiveikata's instructions in various places, including one at the Suva sea wall at night.

He said in many of those meetings Takiveikata kept saying that he was disappointed with what the army did to George Speight's followers when they were evicted from a school and that the army commander, Commodore Bainimarama, should be replaced.

This is Mr Turagacati's third day in the witness box.