2 Sep 2004

Former chairman of Fiji's Great Council says Seniloli agreed to resign

10:21 am on 2 September 2004

It's been revealed in Fiji that jailed vice president Seniloli had agreed to resign when he was first charged with the offence for which he is serving a four-year sentence.

This was disclosed on Radio Legend this morning by the former chairman of the Great Council of Chiefs, Ratu Epeli Ganilau.

Ratu Epeli says when the vice president was first charged he went to see him "as a relative and chairman of the Great Council to ask him to do the honorable thing and step aside."

Ratu Epeli, who was ousted as chairman in part for giving this advice, says Seniloli had agreed with him.

But, he says, the vice president was given other advice

Ratu Epeli says Fiji would never have ended up in the current situation if Seniloli had received the right legal advice and resigned.

Fiji's Great Council of Chiefs, which is the appointing authority for the president and the vice president, will meet in emergency session next week to decide on what action to take on the vice presidency.

Meanwhile, it was revealed this week that on June the 9th, before the Seniloli trial started, the prime minister, Laisenia Qarase had written a letter to Ratu Epeli.

In the letter Mr Qarase said under the constitution every person charged with an offence was innocent until proven guilty, and the situation around the vice president and any other minister charged did not warrant their removal from office.

Mr Qarase told Ratu Epeli that he had "chosen to ignore the law" and expressed his personal views reflecting his "personal interest and inclination"