28 Sep 2006

Fiji's military warns PSC not to appoint alleged rebel officer

6:26 am on 28 September 2006

Fiji's military has warned the Public Service Commission not to appoint one of its officers facing court martial to be the new commissioner of prisons.

The officer, Lieutenant Colonel Jone Baledrokadroka, was suspended after he allegedly conspired to remove the commander, Commodore Bainimarama, at the height of a tense standoff with the government in January this year.

The chairman of the PSC, Stuart Huggett, has confirmed that Lt Col Baledrokadroka is one of the two candidates short-listed for the job but says no decision has been made.

Fiji TV last night broadcast pictures of nine senior army and navy officers in support of the Land Force Commander, Colonel Pita Driti, who insisted that the military will not accept or condone such an appointment.

Col Driti said Lt Col Baledrokadroka is facing a serious charge under military law for trying to overthrow the commander and the PSC must not consider him for the post.

But Mr Huggett says any appointment will be made on merit and they won't be influenced to by the military.