20 Sep 2005

Plot to assassinate former Fiji PM revealed

8:28 am on 20 September 2005

A plot to assassinate Fiji's former prime minister, Mahendra Chaudhry, has been revealed, five years after he was deposed in the Speight coup.

The Fiji Times reports that the plot has been disclosed in a police statement by Maciu Navakasuasua, a gold miner who was approached to blow up Nadi International Airport when Mr Chaudhry and his entourage passed through.

Mr Navakasuasua says the plot was discussed with some of the men who have been charged and convicted of coup related offences.

The police commissioner, Andrew Hughes, is quoted as saying his men are investigating the allegations, but they can't divulge what the witnesses are saying before they appear in court.

Apart from the plan to bomb Nadi Airport, Mr Navakasuasua revealed that Jack's Handicraft Centre in Suva, the Blueline Bus Company depot and the Kasabia Hardware shop were all targets.

An explosion at Kasabia Hardware damaged part of the wall, and two buses and an electricity sub-station near Lami was damaged in explosions.

Mr Navakasuasua has implicated a parliamentarian, a businessman, two nationalist leaders and two military officers as being members of the group which planned the bombings.

Their aim was to create instability in Fiji in the months after Mr Chaudhry had become prime minister, to force the military to move in.

Mr Navakasuasua told police that on May 19th, 2000 they met George Speight, the leader of his gunmen, Ilisoni Ligairi, and others at the University of the South Pacific's School of Maritime Studies in Laucala Bay and made their way to parliament, where they executed the coup.