22 Apr 2005

Fiji's police commissioner defends seizure of Seruvakula document

8:49 am on 22 April 2005

Fiji's police commissioner has defended the use of a search warrant by his officers to force Fiji TV to surrender a document which made startling revelations about the coup.

The document was a police interview given by Lt Colonel Viliame Seruvakula in which he detailed how he was offered 156-thouand US dollars as a bribe to take his troops in support of the coup.

The officer also named a Fiji Indian businessman alleged to have been one of the financiers of the coup and indicated some police complicity in the coup based on a visit he made to the Central Police Station on the day it took place.

Commissioner Andrew Hughes has told Radio Legend that Lt Col Seruvakula's statement was a confidential document and should not have been publicised.

Mr Hughes says it is a "sensitive document which relates to a very critical stage of Fiji's history" and to have it aired publicly at this time is very detrimental to the investigations.

Mr Hughes says revelations of specific details from the statement may jeopardise the prosecution of those involved if the matter proceeds to court.

But Fiji TV's news director, Netani Rika, says it is now almost two years since Lt Col Seruvakula made that statement and it is in the public interest to know the allegations he made.

Mr Rika says they have not revealed any names.