20 Dec 2005

Fiji military threatens to oust departmental head of interior ministry

9:11 am on 20 December 2005

Fiji's military commander has threatened to remove the chief executive of the home affairs ministry, Lesi Korovavala, so he can have direct access to the minister.

Fiji TV reports that Commodore Frank Bainimarama's frustration follows continuing delays in the commissioning of the Fiji Law Society president, Graham Leung, as judge advocate in the High Court-ordered retrial of 20 soldiers.

Commodore Bainimarama says the problem is incompetent people trying to stall the court martial.

He says the home affairs chief executive, Lesi Korovavala, has no business meddling in the affairs of the military.

Mr Korovavala said last week all the government ministries and agencies consulted had not been supportive of the arrangements for the engagement of Mr Leung.

But Commodore Bainimarama says the contract is between the military and Mr Leung, not with Mr Korovavala.

Commodore Bainimarama says he is thinking of removing Mr Korovavala to another job and moving his office to home affairs because the minister is not accepting his advice.

The commander says the minister should have only one advisor on military matters and that should be him as the commander.