4 Nov 2003

Fiji Prosecutor's Office says insufficient evidence against seven accused of taking illegal oath

11:17 am on 4 November 2003

Fiji police are having difficulty laying charges against seven people who took illegal oaths to join George Speight's failed administration after the May 2000 coup.

The Fiji Times reports that their files were returned to the police by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions which did not recommend laying charges, because of insufficient evidence.

The assistant commissioner of police, Moses Driver, says while they have documents containing the signatures of the seven suspects, it wasn't enough to charge them.

Mr Driver says they now need people who can stand up in court and say they witnessed the swearing in and what happened.

Those who have already been charged with taking an illegal oath to commit a capital offence and another of engaging in a seditious enterprise include the vice president, Ratu Jope Seniloli, the deputy speaker of parliament, Ratu Rakuita Vakalalabure and the sports minister, Isireli Leweniqila.

The seven against whom police are still gathering evidence include a current cabinet minister and a senator appointed by the prime minister.

Speight has refused to provide any evidence about the coup despite being interviewed by Mr Driver three times.