17 Jul 2004

Fiji's President rejects probe into military commander's alleged plot

9:06 am on 17 July 2004

Fiji's president has refused to appoint a government-ordered commission of inquiry into the military commander.

In a statement issued last night, President Iloilo said he met Commodore Bainimarama, and the prime minister, and decided that it'd be best if the inquiry didn't proceed.

In reaching his decision, President Iloilo took into account a letter he received from the military, assuring its loyalty and allegiance to the Office of the President, and the commander in chief.

In the letter, the army assured the president that there was never any intention of a coup in the past, nor would there be in the future.

The prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, says he's accepted the president's decision.

Mr Qarase ordered the inquiry, after a national security council meeting.

The meeting had discussed allegations that Commodore Bainimarama planned to overthrow the Qarase government, if it didn't renew his term as commander, which would enable him to continue to pursue coup, and mutiny prosecutions.