8 Mar 2003

Treason trial prosecutor again names prominent Fiji people allegedly involved in 2000 coup

10:16 am on 8 March 2003

The names of prominent Fiji people have again featured in the treason trial of coup accomplices, Josefa Nata and Timoci Silatolu.

The state prosecutor, Perter Ridgeway, named them in his summing up of the trial

He said the lands minister, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu, the deputy speaker of parliament Ratu Rakuita Vakalalabure, the high commissioner to Papua New Guinea Ratu Inoke Kubuabloa, the former finance minister Berenado Vunibobo, the former general manager of the Native Lands Trust Board Maika Qarikau as well as George Speight and his father were among those present at a meeting in parliament soon after the coup.

Mr Ridgeway said the meeting assigned Nata to draft decrees and abolish the constitution, assisted by Ratu Inoke Kubuabola who was then the opposition leader.

Mr Ridgeway said Nata had lied and deceived the court when he claimed that he was in parliament to secure the release of the hostages.

The prosecutor said video evidence showed Nata looking relaxed and chewing gum as George Speight threatened the lives of the hostages.