13 Dec 2005

Fiji military takes court action over ministry move on commander pay

4:41 pm on 13 December 2005

The Fiji military says it has had to take court action over the Finance Ministry continuing to impose a surcharge on the commander because it couldn't resolve the situation through dialogue.

A spokesman, Lt. Colonel Orisi Rabukawaqa, says they've been attempting to arrange a meeting with the Ministry's chief executive officer for the last week but he's been unavailable.

The military has filed contempt of court proceedings because despite a High Court order telling the Finance Ministry to stop deducting money from the commander's pay over a budget overrun, it is continuing to do so.

Lt. Colonel Rabukawaqa says taking legal action is a last resort.

"From our perspective, the last thing that we would have liked to have done was to actually take this particular course of action. We believe dialogue would probably have been a far better way to go about it. The time frame, in terms of what needed to be enacted, and this had to be done so the Director of Army Legal Services was directed by the commander to take the surcharge action."

Lt. Colonel Rabukawaqa.

The Finance Minister, Ratu Jone Kubuabola and the Finance Ministry CEO, were unavailable for comment today.