20 Aug 2004

Fiji cabinet minister asked for statement over forgery

10:18 am on 20 August 2004

Fiji police are reported to be waiting for a statement from a cabinet minister implicated in a local council fraud investigation involving a petition with over 700 fictitious names and forged signatures.

Radio Fiji says the director of police criminal investigations, Ravi Narayan, has confirmed they want the statement from the local government minister, Mataiasi Raqiqia.

The complaint was brought by former Labour Party MP, John Ali, who was objecting to a rural area being brought within the boundaries of Nausori town.

Mr Ali says Minister Raqiqia included the area within the jurisdiction of Nausori Town after receiving a petition signed by 1,016 people.

But, Mr Ali, says more than 700 of these signatures were either forged or were of non-existent people.

The matter was taken to the High Court which ruled in the minister's favour but Mr Ali has lodged an appeal which will be heard next week.