18 Oct 2005

Fiji Senate President orders stop to Ratu Inoke's senate salary

10:50 am on 18 October 2005

The Fiji government senator jailed for life last year has finally lost his seat in the Upper House.

Radio Legend reports that until now Senator Ratu Inoke Takiveikata has been receiving his full senate salary while in Suva Prison and absent from all meetings of the Senate.

The radio says the senate president has defended his decision to wait almost a year before declaring Takiveikata's seat vacant, although parliamentary rules require a member to lose his seat if he misses two consecutive sessions of parliament.

Taito Waqavakatoga says it would not have been proper to stop Takiveikata's pay as he had an option to appeal against his conviction and sentence.

Takiveikata has now indicated that he will not file an appeal.

He is behind bars for life for inciting the November 2000 mutiny which claimed eight lives and caused more than 30 injuries.

The mutiny was aimed at assassinating the military commander, Commodore Bainimarama, and freeing the coup front man, George Speight.