19 May 2004

Fiji police commissioner moots idea of commission of inquiry into army allegations

12:49 pm on 19 May 2004

Fiji police will wait until an inquiry has been held into allegations the army commander planned to overthrow the government, before deciding if an investigation is necessary.

The police spokesman, Mesake Koroi, says the three suspended army officers, who made the claims in a written statement obtained by the media, have still not contacted police.

Despite this, the cabinet announced that a commission of inquiry would be held into the allegations.

Opposition politicians and some civil groups say it is a ploy by the government to get rid of the commander who has been active in prosecuting those involved in the 2000 coup.

Mr Koroi says the police support an inquiry being held and the idea was first mooted by the commissioner, Andrew Hughes.

"The commissioner made the suggestion to the minister for home affairs when they were trying to look at options of how best it is to be handled. We have to take into account the intensity of these allegations and how it has spread like wildfire in the country."

Mesake Koroi.

The army commander has welcomed the inquiry and says he will prove his innocence.

The attorney general is yet to announce the terms of the inquiry or the powers that its members will have.

Today is the fourth anniversary of the coup.