7 Dec 2004

Fiji military to comment on removal of presidential secretary

1:46 pm on 7 December 2004

Fiji's military commander, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, is expected to respond today to allegations that he forced the removal of the president's official secretary, Paula Kunabuli.

Mr Kunabuli was removed on President Iloilo's instructions, allegedly because of his opposition to the military's stand that it did not want a coup-tainted politician to be appointed the new vice president.

The removal followed Commodore Bainimarama's weekend meeting with the president.

Radio Legend quotes Commodore Bainimarama as saying the matter needs to be sorted out to ensure that the public is not given distorted information.

The prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, who is in Labasa campaigning for a by-election, says the matter is serious and he will issue an official statement today.

Meanwhile, the military is reported to be giving its full support for Bau high chief, Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi, or the speaker of parliament, Ratu Epeli Ganilau, to be appointed the next vice president.