8 Dec 2006

Sacked chairman of Fiji's public service leaves for Australia

8:09 am on 8 December 2006

The sacked chairman of Fiji's public service commission and also the constitutional services commission, Stuart Huggett, has left the country for Australia.

Mr Huggett's departure came as the military commander, Commodore Bainimarama, announced the appointment of a team to investigate the corrupt practices of the previous Qarase government.

Commodore Bainimarama said this would include an investigation of Mr Huggett's company, Architects Pacific, which has applied to build a new 24-million US dollar prison complex outside Suva.

He said Mr Huggett had breached the public service code of conduct and should have either withdrawn from the bidding process for the new prisons complex or resigned from chair of the two key public service bodies.

As Mr Huggett was leaving Fiji, he told the Fijilive news website that he was "not running away."

He said he was going to attend his son's admission to the Australian Bar and was also considering going on holiday.

Mr Huggett would not comment on allegations that he was manhandled by soldiers the previous day when he was taken to the military barracks for a meeting with senior army officers.