10 May 2005

Fiji's top law officer denies any government promise to partner over coup

7:22 am on 10 May 2005

Fiji's attorney general is denying that the ruling SDL party made any promise to its coalition partner, the Conservative Alliance, about the fate of its members involved in the coup.

Qoriniasi Bale has told the Fiji Sun that he was surprised to hear of the promise when the proposed Reconciliation and Unity Commission was announced last week.

Members of the Conservative Alliance were reported to be angry with the government for its failure to stop the imprisonment of chiefs.

A Conservative Alliance official, Ropate Sivo, was quoted as saying that the prime minister had made "promises to the party that the government would do its best to avoid the imprisonment of those that played a part in the May 2000 coup."

Mr Bale says the alleged promise was not part of his instruction in the formulation of the legislation and is not reflected in its contents.

Mr Bale says according to his instructions the beneficiaries of the legislation were to the nation and all its people, and the key issue was unity.

He says the proposed legislation wouldn't free those already convicted by the courts.