6 Aug 2003

Fiji based Australian businessman under attack in Parliament

4:27 pm on 6 August 2003

A Fiji Labour Party MP has called on police to arrest and charge garment manufacturer Mark Halabe for complicity in the 2000 coup.

Anand Babla made the call in Parliament when he said the Australian national had admitted contributing 20 thousand US dollars to George Speight at the height of the coup, as well as providing television sets and other equipment.

Mr Babla said with such overwhelming evidence of complicity, failure to charge Mr Halabe would create a perception in the minds of citizens that business people were above the law.

He has also called on the Australian Government's representative in Fiji to start legal proceedings against Mr Halabe and have him charged under Australian anti-terrorism laws.

But the Fiji Times reports that Mr Halabe has challenged Mr Babla to make the same accusations outside Parliament.

Mr Halabe says he would continue to invest, employ and export while the Fiji Labour Party, of which Mr Babla is a member, continued to destroy investment, exports and the confidence of the community.