4 Jan 2006

Fiji cabinet minister denies any role in planned bombing attacks in 1999

11:21 am on 4 January 2006

A Fiji cabinet minister has denied being one of the plotters of the planned bombing of the Nadi International Airport and several strategic areas in Suva in 1999 when the Labour Party leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, became prime minister.

The Fiji Sun says the allegation has been made by the former Nationalist Party executive, Josaia Waqabaca, against the current minister for forests and fisheries, Konisi Yabaki.

Mr Waqabaca has implicated Mr Yabaki, the chairman of Fiji Hardwood Corporation, Navitalai Naisoro, and the head of Strategic Air Services Limited, Watisoni Nata in the conspiracy.

Mr Yabaki has admitted to the Sun that he often had lunch with Mr Naisoro and Mr Waqabaca as well as the former coup convict, Maciu Navakasuasua, but they never spoke about any planned bombing of Nadi Airport or other places in Suva.

Mr Yabaki says he only criticised the leadership style of the of the Chaudhry government because of his position as an opposition MP of the SVT party.

Mr Navakasuasua also says Mr Yabaki and the Mr Naisoro are "the real culprits" who hired them to execute the bombings, adding that he is ready to fly over from Australia to testify.

Mr Navakasuasua says they were the main link to local as well as offshore financiers from Vanuatu who financed the coup.