15 Sep 2004

Former Fiji PM dismissive about Bale's stance on Seniloli pay

4:08 pm on 15 September 2004

Fiji's ousted Prime Minister, Mahendra Chaudhry, says the Attorney General's claim that he had no idea the Vice President and Deputy Speaker were on full pay in jail is a lie.

The Vice President, Ratu Jope Seniloli and the Deputy Speaker, Ratu Rakuita Vakalalabure, were convicted for serious coup-related offences and their continued payment has caused a national outrage.

Mr Bale says he's not convinced that this is true and needs to verify the situation with the Solicitor General, Nainendra Nand.

But Mr Chaudhry says this is a smokescreen.

"He's lying, he knew full well, the entire nation knows that these people are earning their full salary while in jail. And there's no need for him to verify it with anybody, in fact this has been admitted by the authorities already."

Mr Bale says the Government has reportedly sought legal advice on the matter from the Solicitor General.

Mr Chaudhry says the law is clear on the matter and this is just a ploy to keep the two on the payroll.