14 Jun 2006

Fiji court martial hears of spying

3:53 pm on 14 June 2006

The court martial of the last eight Fiji soldiers accused of the November 2000 mutiny has been told that one of them did "dirty work" for the military by spying on others.

The Fiji Sun reports that Corporal Lagilagi Vosabeci has told the tribunal that he spied on the former prime minister Sitiveni Rabuka, the Methodist Church, the Fiji Labour Party, foreign embassy officials and some military officers.

Corporal Vosabeci said he was not allowed to do any overseas peacekeeping work for ten years when he worked as an intelligence operative.

He said he and his colleagues were taught photography, spying, entering and removing things undetected and following people.

Corporal Vosabeci said he had no intention of removing the commander, Commodore Bainimarama, during the mutiny because when he was in parliament during the coup working as an undercover operative, he had saved the commander's life.

This was by telling his superior to tell Commodore Bainimarama to change his route from Nadi Airport to Suva because there was a rebel group "waiting to snatch him."

All eight soldiers currently before the court martial were sentenced earlier but the High Court overturned their convictions on a technicality and ordered them retried.

42 soldiers of the now disbanded Counter Revolutionary Warfare Unity have already been court martialled and sentenced for their role in the coup and the mutiny and some of them have completed serving their sentences.