11 Dec 2002

More prominent Fijians named in Silatolu/Nata treason trial

6:20 am on 11 December 2002

The role of prominent people in fiji and a number of current government ministers in the May 2000 coup are being revealed in the treason trial of Timoci Silatolu and Josefa Nata.

The latest witness to give evidence, former cabinet minister and coup hostage, Leo Smith, has told the High Court that he attended a meeting with George Speight on the afternoon of the coup after being asked by a then government MP, Ratu Tuakitau Cokanauto.

Mr Smith said Speight told those present that he had the support of the military and the police.

The meeting was joined by the two men on trial, the minister for sport, Isireli Leweniqila, the minister for lands, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu and the deputy speaker of parliament, Ratu Rakuita Vakalalabure.

Also present were Speight's father, Sam speight, the former director of the Fiji Intellegence Service, Colonel Mua, the former manager of the Native Lands Trust Board Maika Qarikau and several of those now serving prison sentences for their role in the coup.

Mr Smith said the men discussed the formation of an administration to replace the deposed Chaudhry government.