15 Nov 2006

Crown witness cross-examined in Rabuka incitement trial

10:30 am on 15 November 2006

The trial of the former Fiji prime minister, Sitiveni Rabuka, has resumed in the Suva High Court with the cross-examination of the main state witness, Lt Col Viliame Seruvakula.

Rabuka has been charged with two counts of inciting Lt Col Seruvakula in July and November of 2000 to stage a mutiny and overthrow the military commander, Commodore Bainimarama.

Rabuka has denied the charges.

Lt Col Seruvakula was the commander of the 3rd Battalion Fiji Infantry Regiment who put down the mutiny on November 2nd 2000.

Under cross examination by defence counsel Peter Maiden, Lt Col Seruvakula agreed that his own life was threatened a day after the May 19th coup and there was a threat to kidnap his son.

He denied suggestions by Mr Maiden that Rabuka had telephoned him to replace Commodore Bainimarama as the negotiator in the coup, not to "replace or remove" the commander

Lt Col Seruvakula also said he did not immediately report the allegations against Rabuka until he was approached by Fiji police while he was working for the New Zealand army in New Zealand in 2001.