16 Jul 2004

Fiji media speculate that President will block proposed inquiry into military commander

10:13 am on 16 July 2004

Fiji's president is expected to make a national broadcast today amid strong speculation that he will refuse the government's request for a commission of inquiry into allegations against the military commander.

The Fiji Times quotes President Iloilo's official secretary, Paula Kunabuli, as saying, "the president does not have to give a reason."

The newspaper says it understands the President's Office sent a letter to the Prime Minister's Office on Monday saying it had withdrawn its earlier support for a commission of inquiry into Commodore Bainimarama.

Prime Minister Qarase will hold a special cabinet meeting in Suva today to brief his ministers.

The national security council, chaired by Mr Qarase, ordered an inquiry to look into allegations by three suspended officers that Commodore Bainimarama planned to overthrow the government.

It allegedly happened during a tense stand-off in December last year when government officials were strongly opposing a renewal of Commodore Bainimarama's term as commander to enable him to pursue coup and mutiny prosecutions.