14 May 2003

Fiji government minister calls for fairness in coup probes

10:54 am on 14 May 2003

A senior Fiji government minister and leader of a political party has called for fairness in the coup investigations, not double standards.

The Fiji Sun reports the call has come from the minister for lands, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu, who heads the pro-coup Conservative Alliance Matanitu Vanua party and is also a paramount chief.

Ratu Naiqama says the decision makers should now decide whether the coup investigations should continue or be stopped.

He says if they are to continue, the Conservative Alliance would like to see investigations into those responsible for the stepping down of the president at the time of the coup, Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara.

These include the army commander, the former commissioner of police, Col Isikia Savua, former prime minister Sitiveni Rabuka, and the chairman of the Great Council of Chiefs, Ratu Epeli Ganilau.

Ratu Naiqama says these people should be investigated and charged for the unlawful removal of the president.

He says those responsible for abrogating the constitution should also be investigated.

But Ratu Naiqama, who is himself facing charges for the Labasa mutiny, says it would be better for all to forgive one another and begin afresh.