23 Apr 2004

Fiji acting president Seniloli informed of Mara death

3:05 pm on 23 April 2004

Fiji's acting president, Ratu Jope Seniloli, has been traditionally informed of the death of longtime prime minister and former president, Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara.

The Fiji Sun newspaper says the formality was carried out by the minister for home affairs, Joketani Cokanasiga, who heads a cabinet sub-committee making preparations for the state funeral

The newspaper says Ratu Jope was very emotional during the presentation.

During the May 2000 coup Ratu Jope was appointed president by George Speight and tried to take over the functions of the presidency and swear in Speight's administration while Ratu Mara was still in office

Ratu Mara was removed ten days later.

Ratu Jope is currently facing serious treason-related charges for trying to usurp the presidency.

He has been charged with taking an illegal oath to commit a capital offence and engaging in a seditious enterprise.

The High court trial will begin in June.

Well-informed government sources say President Iloilo is in Sydney recovering from surgery

He is aged 83 and was a contemporary of Ratu Mara's at Queen Victoria School in 1935.