27 Jun 2006

Fiji Military to ask UN to return controversial army officer

6:33 am on 27 June 2006

Fiji's military is to ask the United Nations to send back the controversial army officer, Lt Colonel Filipo Tarakinikini, so he can be questioned and court martialled in connection with his alleged involvement in the May 2000 coup.

Fiji TV reports that the military will make its approach through Fiji's representative at the United Nations, Col Isikia Savua, who himself has been questioned by the police on his alleged involvement in the coup.

The military move comes after a Suva High Court ruling upholding President Iloilo's refusal to accept Lt Colonel Tarakinikini's resignation of his commission from overseas.

In the ruling, Justice Gerard Winter said Lt Colonel Tarakinikini was appointed chief of staff of the military by the coup front man, George Speight, and later investigated for his alleged involvement in the coup.

Lt Colonel Tarakinikini left Fiji in early 2001 to take up a United Nations job and has not returned since despite orders from the military.