2 Feb 2006

Fiji army officer appears before military inquiry into last month's standoff with his commander

9:36 pm on 2 February 2006

The senior Fiji army officer sacked as Land Force Commander last month has appeared before a military board of inquiry after having earlier questioned its composition and terms of reference.

Radio Legend reports that Lt Col Jone Baledrokadroka was summoned to give his account of events on the 12th of last month when he is alleged to have challenged his commander, Commodore Bainimarama, to resign.

Col Baledrokadroka's lawyer, Davnesh Sharma, says his client handed in his written statement to the military board and exercised his right to remain silent.

Mr Sharma says the board is not directly investigating his client but is on a fact-finding mission on what happened on the day Col Baledrokadroka allegedly asked Commodore Bainimarama to step down.

The officer faces possible loss of his commission and dishonorable discharge from the army.

No details of the inquiry are being revealed by the military.

The board is charged with investigating all the circumstances which resulted in the standoff between the military and the government which in turn led to Col Baledrokadroka challenging his commander.

It will determine whether there is sufficient evidence to justify convening a court martial.