13 Jun 2003

Fiji appoints Australian policeman as new police commissioner

10:00 am on 13 June 2003

Fiji's new police commissioner is to come from Australia.

A Canberra-based assistant commissioner in the Australian Federal Police, Andrew Hughes, has been appointed to succeed Col isikia Savua, who left six months ago to become Fiji's representative at the United Nations.

Longtime deputy and current acting commissioner, Moses Driver, did not apply for the post, saying that an expatriate commissoner was needed to restore public confidence in the police force.

Other applicants were not considered suitable.

Mr Hughes' appointment has been welcomed by Fiji's opposition leader, Mick Beddoes, the National Federation Party and the Fijian Political Party, the SVT.

The SVT leader, Sitiveni Rabuka, is quoted as saying that it is best to have someone independent who is not affected by Fiji's politics when the country is so polarised and factionalised as it is now.

Meanwile, the police investigation file into former commissioner Savua's alleged invovement in the May 2000 coup is still open.