30 Jan 2006

Senior Fiji official not co-operating with inquiry into attempt to overthrow military leader.

8:43 pm on 30 January 2006

The chief executive of Fiji's home affairs ministry has refused to co-operate with a military board of inquiry into the attempted overthrow of its commander earlier this month.

Radio Fiji reports that Lesi Korovavala has refused to appear before the inquiry which was appointed by the commander, Commodore Bainimarama.

The board is charged with investigating the events which led to Col Jone Baledrokadroka, the former Land Force Commander who has since been sacked, challenging the leadership of Commodore Bainimarama.

The military spokesman, Captain Neumi Leweni, has confirmed that the 4-member of board of inquiry had summoned Mr Korovavala to appear before the tribunal but he refused.

Captain Leweni says the military is not happy with Mr Korovavala who holds the rank of colonel in the army.

The board of inquiry is investigating whether Col Baledrokadroka had tried to incite a mutiny to overthrow Commodore Bainimarama at the urging of Mr Korovavala.

The military says it has evidence of a telephone conversation allegedly between Col Baledrokadroka and Mr Korovavala.

The outcome of the inquiry will determine whether Col Baledrokadroka will face a court martial.