21 May 2004

Fiji party praises military commander

11:00 am on 21 May 2004

Fiji's National Federation Party has praised the military commander at the same time as government's announcement that a commission of inquiry is to examine his conduct.

The commission will look into allegations that Commodore Bainimarama wanted to take over the government if his term as commander was not renewed.

The NFP leader, Prem Singh, says Commodore Bainimarama is hailed as a saviour for protecting the nation from anarchy and destruction during the May 2000 coup.

Mr Singh says the commander should not fear victimisation, if he's done no wrong, and the commission should determine whether the current controversy is a fallout from the coup.

Meanwhile, a newspaper report says Commodore Bainimarama could be asked to step aside once the commission begins its work.

The Daily Post quotes a senior government official as saying that it would only be fair that the commander go on leave while he is being investigated.

It says the former police commissioner, Colonel Isikia Savua, went on leave when he was investigated.

The official, who didn't wish to be named, says sending Commodore Bainimarama on leave is one of the matters under consideration.