28 Jul 2005

Prosecution completes its case in trial of Fiji transport minister

9:42 am on 28 July 2005

State lawyers have completed the prosecution of Fiji's transport minister, Simione Kaitani, and three others on serious coup related charges.

Kaitani, Lepani Tonitonivavua, Eroni Lewaqi and Viliame Sausauwai have been charged with taking illegal oaths to join George Speight's failed administration as ministers during the coup.

The Suva High Court has been told that Kaitani said in a police statement that he never took an oath but signed an oath of allegiance because he was given an impression that it was legal.

The police statement quoted Kaitani as saying the army was behind the coup, they were supplying rations and that was why he supported he coup.

Tonitonivanua, Lewaqai and Sausauwai admitted in their police statements that they had taken oaths to join Speight's administration.

The oaths were administered by the convicted former vice president, Ratu Jope Seniloli, who had usurped the presidency during the coup.

The defence case will begin next week.