12 Nov 2015

Fiji military interference in policing restated

12:21 pm on 12 November 2015

Fiji's former Police Commissioner, Ben Groenewald, has confirmed that the military stopped police from arresting an officer wanted for sexual assault.

Mr Groenewald told Fiji TV that the military harboured Pita Matairavula, describing the numerous problems in apprehending him as straightforward preventing the course of justice.

He says this interference in the police work was one reason why he resigned this week.

However, the acting military commander, Rear Admiral Viliame Naupoto, says he doesn't know what Mr Groenewald is talking about.

Fiji's police commissioner Bernadus Groenewald. Appointed in May 2014.

Fiji police commissioner Ben Groenewald Photo: RNZI/ Sally Round

He says the military has not been interfering with policing, adding that the military and police work together.

Last week, Mr Matairavula's lawyer said his client, who had skipped court twice in a week, had not been on the run.

He also said a complaint would be lodged over the prosecution telling a magistrate court that police were prevented from arresting Mr Matairavula.

While Mr Matairavula was wanted by police in Suva last month, he appeared in a Lautoka court in a rape case and was granted bail.

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