21 Apr 2003

Conservative Alliance Matanitu Vanua party denies making threatening calls to Fiji's Public Prosecut

4:11 pm on 21 April 2003

Fiji's pro-coup Conservative Alliance Matanitu Vanua party has denied making threatening phone calls to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions to drop coup-related charges against parliament's deputy speaker.

Ratu Rakuita Vakalalabure, a Conservative Alliance MP, has been charged with one count of taking an unlawful oath to commit a capital offence and one count of engaging in a seditious enterprise.

The charges relate to Ratu Rakuita being sworn in as the attorney general in George Speight's failed administration one day after the overthrow of the Chaudhry government.

The Fiji Sun newspaper quoted un-named prosecutors saying they were threatened by phone calls from the Conservative Alliance office to drop the charges against Ratu Rakuita.

But the party secretary general, Ratu Josefa Dimuri, has denied that any such phone calls were made from the Conservative Alliance office which is in the parliamentary complex.

Ratu Josefa, who is himself facing coup related charges, says the party's position is that if charges are to be dropped against anyone and those jailed for the coup freed, it should be done within the law.

He says there are avenues within the law to allow for this and the party and its MPs are considering these.