31 Jan 2005

Fiji military to fight finance penalty imposed by Government for over expenditure

9:33 pm on 31 January 2005

Fiji's military will fight the finance ministry's decision to financially penalise its commander for over-expenditure of its budget in the 2003 financial year.

Commodore Bainimarama has told Radio Fiji that they had received a letter signed by the sacked finance chief executive, Tevita Banuve, late last week although it was dated much earlier.

Commodore Bainimarama says he was being surcharged for 12-million US dollars.

But, he says, he believes the issue was settled last year in discussions with the relevant cabinet subcommittee and the finance ministry.

Commodore Bainimarama said the over-expenditure was basically to do with the army being over-strength because of the return of 300 soldiers from the Middle East.

As well, the army had to pay for the court martial of soldiers involved in the 2000 coup and mutinies for which the government did not provide any additional funding.

Commodore Bainimarama says his senior officers have held a meeting and decided to fight the case because it was a joint decision.