18 Jan 2006

Fiji military asks for removal of home affairs ministry chief executive

9:25 am on 18 January 2006

Fiji's military has demanded the removal of the chief executive of the home affairs ministry, Lesi Korovavala.

Radio Fiji reports that the military believes Mr Korovavala was the cause of its recent standoff with the government, which heightened tensions across the country.

The radio says it understands the matter was among issues discussed by Commodore Bainimarama with the prime minister in talks mediated by the acting president and commander-in-chief, Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi, on Monday.

It quotes its sources as saying Commodore Bainimarama said in the Government House meeting that Dr Korovavala had telephoned the officer who attempted to overthrow the commander, Lt Col Jone Baledrokadroka.

In the conversation, Mr Korovavala was alleged to have tried to arrange for Lt Col Baledrokadroka, who had been appointed Land Force Commander only that week, to meet the prime minister.

The military says it has evidence to back these allegations.

The military has written to the Public Service Commission asking it to transfer Mr Korovavala out of the home affairs ministry and has lodged a complaint with the police.

Commodore Bainimarama sacked Lt Col Baledrokadroka a day after his attempt to remove the commander failed.