11 Feb 2005

Police replace soldiers for Fiji PM security

8:14 am on 11 February 2005

Police officers have taken over security duties for Fiji's prime minister after the military commander, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, withdrew his troops.

In a letter to the Prime Minister's Office, the military said the move was part of cost-saving measures.

The ministry of finance had earlier surcharged Commodore Bainimarama 12-million US dollars for exceeding the military's budget in 2003.

He removed the prime minister's security detail after the finance ministry rejected his appeal against the surcharge.

An emergency meeting of government officials followed, which included staff of the ministry of home affairs and the President and the Vice President's Office.

It's understood government officials are considering measures against Commodore Bainimarama for what they are describing as his attempts to destabilise the country.

The military would not comment on the latest developments.