5 Oct 2005

Fiji police and military commanders to take joint legal action against home affairs ministry

11:20 am on 5 October 2005

Fiji's military commander and police commissioner are expected to launch a joint legal challenge in the High Court to stop the ministry of home affairs from interfering in their budgets.

The Fiji Times reports Commissioner Andrew Hughes regards any attempt to control the police budget as an attempt to compromise his constitutional independence.

Commodore Bainimarama is in support of Mr Hughes, saying ministry interference would mean political interference in their operations.

Mr Hughes and Commodore Bainimarama say they will meet this week to discuss a legal challenge to the ministry of home affairs' recent controls.

Mr Hughes says there is a push to place the police and military budgets firmly under the control of the chief executive of the ministry of home affairs.

Mr Hughes says this is a serious erosion of the independence of both security forces and places severe limits on operational and administrative discretion and flexibility.

Commodore Bainimarama says once money goes to the chief executive of their ministry, everything is politicised and somebody will become the military commander and police commissioner and dictate their operations.