6 Nov 2004

Fiji senator reneged on civilian support for mutiny, court told

8:42 am on 6 November 2004

The Suva High Court has been told that a Fiji government senator charged with inciting and aiding the November 2000 mutiny reneged on a promise to provide civilian support for an attack on an army camp.

Radio Fiji says this has been disclosed in the criminal trial of Ratu Inoke Takiveikata, by his right hand man in the mutiny.

Metuisela Turagacati is giving evidence as a state witness in return for immunity from prosecution.

Mr Turagacati told the court that Takiveikata had promised to provide 2,000 civilians to support the mutiny by soldiers of the Counter Revolutionary Warfare Unit.

He said when the rebel soldiers attacked the army camp, civilians gathered to give them support were sent a message by Takiveikata not to go to the camp.

Mr Turagacati said the message was brought by the current government MP Ted Young, the current SDL president Ratu Kalokalo Laki, and Peceli Rinakama, who's currently serving a sentence for being sworn into George Speight's failed administration.

Mr Turagacati said he had fled into the jungle and hid there until Takiveikata picked him up two days after the mutiny.

He said Takiveikata returned the next day with a statement form and instructed him to write down that the civilians had been gathered only to go to the army camp for reconciliation and not to support the mutiny.

The military arrested Mr Turagacati the same day and kept him in custody until he was handed over to the police.