20 Dec 2004

Sitiveni Rabuka says he was part of group that asked Fiji's former President to step down

6:58 am on 20 December 2004

The former Fiji prime minister, Sitiveni Rabuka, says he was part of the delegation led by the military commander, Commodore Bainimarama, which asked the former president, the late Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara, to step down during the coup.

Mr Rabuka has told the Sunday Times it had to be done because it was a necessity.

This was to enable Commodore Bainimarama to take over executive authority and form an interim military government before an interim administration was installed and an elected government restored in 2001.

Mr Rabuka insists that what they did was extra legal and extra constitutional, and there is no case to answer.

Mr Rabuka says he, the former police commissioner, Col Isikia Savua, and the former military commander, Brigadier General Ratu Epeli Ganilau, were part of that delegation in their role as senior reserve military officers.

Mr Rabuka's comment comes amid reports that police will be investigating Ratu Mara's removal.