28 Apr 2005

Fiji's Chaudhry dismisses claims of interference in police probe

3:27 pm on 28 April 2005

The leader of the Fiji Labour Party, Mahendra Chaudhry, has dismissed suggestions by a former Prime Minister that he is interfering with police investigations into the 2000 coup.

Sitiveni Rabuka accused Mr Chaudhry of meddling after he met the police commissioner, Andrew Hughes, over a police statement given by Lieutenant Col Viliame Seruvakula.

The statement - made two years ago - implicated Mr Rabuka, the former police commissioner Isikia Savua and a government senator in the coup.

Mr Chaudhry says he spoke to Mr Hughes to see why the police were taking so long to investigate those named in the statement.

"The police are rather lax, this statement was recorded in 2003 and some senior officers in the police deliberately suppressed this statement, they didn't act on its contents. And they're rounding up a number of people who were named in the statement, questioning them and possibly charging them. After this statement was made public by TV1 the police have been forced to move on this."

Mr Chaudhry says it's time the police got on with the job.

Meanwhile, Mr Rabuka says he's not been approached by the police since he was interviewed extensively six months ago.

At the moment I do not expect to be interviewed again. They have done the interview. When they conducted the interview they had the Seruvakula statement with them.

Mr Rabuka has always maintained his innocence and says he's sick of living under a cloud.