18 Feb 2005

Fiji court martial told of moves by George Speight to publish decrees setting up his administrationn

11:18 am on 18 February 2005

A court martial in Fiji has been told how the coup front man, George Speight, forced the printing of decrees making appointments to the regime he was trying to set up.

In the witness box was the outgoing chief executive of the Fiji Rugby Union, Pio Bosco Tikoisiva, who was Government Printer at the time.

Mr Tikoisuva said the jailed treason convict Josefa Nata had called him on the day of the coup and asked him to print various decrees.

These included the appointment of the late Col Ulaisi Vatu as the new commander of the military and Lt Col Filipo Tarakinikini as the new army chief of staff.

As well, Ratu Jope Seniloli was named the new president of Fiji and the 1997 Constitution was revoked.

Mr Tikoisuva, said when he refused Nata's request, George Speight phoned him and threatened to send his own men down to the government printing house.

On trial in the court martial is Corporal Lagilagi Vosabeci who is charged with mutiny, misprision of treason and wrongful confinement of the Chaudhry government.

The court was told Vosabeci was under orders to work as an undercover agent for the military but changed sides and supported Speight in his coup.