8 Nov 2004

Mutiny trial in Fiji told that accused senator planned to smuggle in guns

8:36 pm on 8 November 2004

The criminal trial of a Fiji government senator, Ratu Inoke Takiveikata, has been told that he had planned to smuggle in firearms from overseas for use in the November 2000 mutiny which claimed 8 lives.

Radio Fiji says this was disclosed by Takiveikata's right hand man in the planning of the mutiny, Metuisela Turagacati.

Mr Turagacati is the state's chief witness against Takiveikata after he was given immunity from prosecution.

He has told the Suva High Court that Takiveikata had told him and another man that he was arranging for weapons to be smuggled into Fiji for use by civilians during the mutiny.

Mr Turagacati said the other man was Ratu Dovi Kanaimawi, whose father Ratu Epeli Kanaimawi, was one of the aspirants for the prime minister's job after the Speight coup.

Mr Turagacati rejected suggestions by Takiveikata's Australian lawyer, Gabriel Wendler, that he was fabricating the plan to smuggle in weapons from overseas.

Earlier, Mr Turagacati told the court that the former general manager of Fiji's Native Lands Trust Board, the late Maika Qarikau, played a key role in the planning by paying for a rental car which was used for travel to venues where the mutiny was planned.