13 Oct 2006

Former Fiji minister implicates military in agriculture ministry scam

1:39 pm on 13 October 2006

The agriculture minister in Fiji's post-coup interim regime, Mohammed Apisai Tora, has implicated the military in the 13-million US dollar scam in his ministry at the time.

The Daily Post reports that Mr Tora has told the Suva High Court the military were the real originators of the scheme which defrauded the state of millions of dollars.

He said the army had initiated the affirmative action programme for indigenous Fijians after the 1987 coups.

He said when the interim administration was put in place by the army after the 2000 coup, it was told to continue the scheme to diffuse the tension caused by the political crisis.

Mr Tora said he merely continued from where people in the previous administration had left off.

On trial is the former head of the agriculture ministry, Peniasi Kunatuba, who is facing two charges of abuse of office.