25 Jan 2007

50 banned from leaving Fiji by military regime

4:27 pm on 25 January 2007

Fiji's military has so far banned 50 people from overseas travel, but is refusing to say exactly why they're being targetted.

The latest addition to the military's blacklist is Jaganath Sami - the sacked head of the Sugar Cane Growers Council.

Mr Sami was suspended last month then sacked by the president, Ratu Josefa Iloilo, following allegations of financial mismanagement.

The new director of immigration, Viliame Naupoto, is compiling the list, but says he's just following orders from the military.

He claims he has no idea exactly why those named are banned and can only assume its part of the military's anti-corruption drive.

"I'm only assuming that it has something to do with the investigation that they want to keep them here while they're doing the investigation so that they can be questioned."

Mr Naupoto declined to name anyone on the list but included are the suspended chief justice, Daniel Fatiaki, and businesswoman Laisa Digitaki, who led a democracy protest last month.