13 Jul 2004

Fiji's Vakalalabure's police statement on rebel oaths revealed

9:39 am on 13 July 2004

One of the accused in the Fiji treason trial said he joined Speight's rebel administration in the May 2000 coup because he thought Speight had effective control of the country the way Rabuka had in 1987.

This is part of the statement given to police by the current deputy speaker of parliament, Ratu Rakuita Vakalalabure.

Vakalalabure was sworn in as Speight's attorney general and minister for justice.

The police statement of another accused, Peceli Rinakama, records him as saying the pre-coup prime minister, Mahendra Chaudhry, was warned against handling land issues.

Rinakama said he and Naitasiri paramount chief and current vice president of the SDL party, Ratu Inoke Takiveikata, had warned Mr Chaudhry.

A third accused and the current sport minister, Isireli Leweniqila, admitted in his police statement that he knew he was supporting an illegal regime but had not sought legal advice.