30 Aug 2006

Fiji army expresses concern over naming of new diplomat

10:08 am on 30 August 2006

Fiji's military says it is "baffled" by what it says is the recent appointment of a person it describes as a coup perpetrator as a diplomat.

The Fiji Sun says the military has expressed reservation at the naming of Ratu Epeli Kanaimawi as Fiji's high commissioner to Malaysia, claiming his involvement in the May 2000 coup is common knowledge.

The military spokesman, Major Neumi Leweni, says as the president of the Assembly of Christian Churches, Ratu Epeli asked the army commander "not to press charges against those involved in the 2000 crisis."

Major Leweni says "Ratu Epeli was also one of four people who lobbied the president, Ratu Josefa Iloilo, not to appoint Laisenia Qarase as the interim prime minister because they wanted Adi Samanunu Talakuli Cakobau to lead the interim administration."

Major Leweni says the military cannot comprehend the appointment but it is the government's choice and they should be able to tell the people their reasons for appointing such people.

Earlier a coup convict now living in Australia, Maciu Navakasuasua, had revealed that George Speight had considered Ratu Epeli as a candidate for prime minister in his failed administration.

The prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, did not wish to comment last night, only saying that if there were allegations against Ratu Epeli, they should be referred to the police.