10 Aug 2005

Fiji prosecutors close case in transport minister's coup trial

3:22 pm on 10 August 2005

State prosecutors in Fiji have closed their case in the trial of Fiji's transport minister, Simione Kaitani, and three others on serious coup related charges.

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

Radio Fiji says prosecutor Ashishna Prasad told the Suva High Court that the four accused were involved in the illegal administration set up by George Speight during the coup in May 2000.

Ms Prasad said the four took an oath and signed illegal documents when the then president, Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara , was still in office.

She said their activities confirmed their part in the illegal administration with their signatures confirmed by evidence presented in court by a handwriting expert from New Zealand.

Ms Prasad said Kaitani, Tonitonivavua, Lewaqai and Sausauwai also answered questions from police admitting they took an oath of office in the illegal administration and also signed the documents.

She said there was enough evidence to convict the men.