23 Jan 2006

Fiji military yet to dispel claims it bugged Home Affairs

4:16 pm on 23 January 2006

Fiji's military has refused to disclose whether it is bugging telephone conversations from the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Radio Fiji says this follows questions put to the military following recent revelations by its commander, Commodore Frank Bainimarama.

Commodore Bainimarama had said they had evidence of telephone conversations in which the chief executive of the home affairs ministry, Lesi Korovavala, conspired to have him removed.

The conversations were allegedly with the sacked former Land Force Commander, Lt Col Jone Baledrokadroka, who attempted to remove the commander at the height of the standoff between the military and the government.

Radio Fiji says the military spokesman, Captain Neumi Leweni, would not confirm or deny whether the military is bugging the telephone lines of the home affairs ministry.

Following the revelations by Commodore Bainimarama, the military stepped up its intelligence gathering activity.

It has also appointed a board of inquiry to determine whether Lt Col Baledrokadroka tried to incite a mutiny among senior officers to oust Commodore Bainimarama and whether he should be court martialled.