21 Sep 2005

Former Fiji coup convict says coup evidence has been tampered with by police

9:38 am on 21 September 2005

A former Fiji coup convict says all investigations into the May 2000 overthrow of the Chaudhry government will lead nowhere because police investigating teams have been altering statements to omit the names of prominent people.

The Fiji Sun says this claim has been made by Maciu Navakasuasua, a former explosives expert who spent time in prison with George Speight but now lives in Australia.

Mr Navakasuasua says on June 29th this year he gave a 30-page detailed statement containing the names of prominent people, places and incidents related to the coup to deputy Inspector Savenaca Waqairatu who came to interview him in Sydney.

Mr Navakasuasua says the statement was reduced to 7-pages with all the vital information missing and with ever increasing spelling mistakes.

The assistant commissioner of police, Kemueli Bulamainaivalu, has confirmed the Sydney interview with Mr Navakasuasua but refused to comment on why the 30-page statement was condensed into 7-pages.

The prime minister taken hostage in the coup, Mahendra Chaudhry, says Mr Navakasuasua had told him in Sydney of what had happened during the coup.

In a letter to the director of public prosecutions, Mr Chaudhry says he is at a loss to understand why police are not moving with greater urgency on Mr Navakasuasua's statement given its real relevance to the coup.

In an editorial today, the Fiji Sun says allegations of police tampering with evidence does nothing to inspire public confidence in the coup investigations.