22 Jul 2003

Fiji finance secretary invesigated for assault

8:47 am on 22 July 2003

In a case that is generating public interest in Fiji, police are investigating the secretary of finance, Tevita Banuve, for assaulting and trying to choke the government's permanent arbitrator, John Semisi.

Fiji TV reports that the assault took place at a Suva social club and came after Mr Semisi awarded public servants a Cost of Living Allowance increase which will cost the government more than 10 million US dollars.

Mr Banuve has to find the money to pay the increase.

Police say Mr Semisi suffered injuries to his neck, has lost his normal voice and has difficulty in swallowing.

The secretary for the Fiji Public Service Association, Rajeshwar Singh, who took the Cost of living claim to the arbitrator, has called for the full brunt of the law to be brought to bear on the person who assaulted Mr Semisi.