7 Oct 2005

Fiji military says home affairs ministry has no power to discipline Commander

11:16 am on 7 October 2005

Fiji's military says the home affairs minister, Josefa Vosanibola, has no powers to take disciplinary action against their commander, Commodore Bainimarama.

Radio Legend reports that the military statement follows Mr Vosanibola's letter to Commodore Bainimarama seeking an explanation for his comments to the Australian foreign minister, Alexander Downer, last week before taking action.

Commodore Bainimarama had rejected comments by Mr Downer that the military was involved in politics and told him that Australia had never experienced a coup and did not know what Fiji's military went through.

Responding to the minister, a military spokesman, Captain Neumi Leweni, says the government has no authority to hold the military commander accountable for his comments.

Captain Leweni says the home affairs minister has no powers at all to take disciplinary action against the commander as the President is the commander-in-chief of the military.

He says even if the government takes legal action, the military will defend itself.