8 Jul 2004

Fiji's Seniloli wanted presidency to calm situation, court hears

8:15 am on 8 July 2004

The treason trial of Fiji's vice president has been told that Seniloli agreed to be Speight's usurper president because he wanted to calm down the situation in parliament.

Radio Legend says Seniloli gave this statement to police after the coup, which was revealed in the High Court by the investigating officer, Acting Superintendent Waisea Tabakau.

Mr Tabakau said Seniloli told police that he didn't really believe Speight, when he called a day before the coup and told him he'd seize the government.

When police asked Seniloli why he didn't inform police, or the military, of Speight's plans, Seniloli answered that he didn't believe Speight could do what he planned, without the military's support.

Seniloli said he volunteered to be president, because of the people's anger and the volatile situation at that time.

The police interview of another accused, Lieutenant Colonel Viliame Volavola, who was sworn in as the purported minister for urban development, revealed Speight had wanted to appoint Colonel Ulaisi Vatu as military commander.

Volovola also told police that Speight wanted to appoint Lt Col Filipo Tarakinikini as military chief of staff.

Volavola told police that his initial feeling in parliament was that he'd bring some sense of credibility.

But he left parliament 12 days later on June the 1st because he didn't agree with some issues including forms of worship being used.