15 Feb 2007

Fiji police call on former top cop Hughes to stop making false statements

4:37 pm on 15 February 2007

Fiji police and the military have called on the former police commissioner, Andrew Hughes, to stop misleading people overseas.

The call comes after Mr Hughes, who fled Fiji a few days before the coup, told overseas media that the military commander carried out the December takeover because he was about to be charged for the deaths of five mutineers in November 2000.

But the assistant commissioner of police crime, Josaia Rasiga, who investigated Commodore Bainimarama, has told Radio Legend he was cleared more than three years ago because he was not even at the army camp when the deaths occurred.

The radio says Mr Hughes had made a similar statement clearing Commodore Bainimarama to the station at the time.

Mr Rasiga says he himself had informed Mr Hughes three years ago that Commodore Bainimarama had been cleared.

Mr Rasiga says the former commissioner, who lives in Australia, should stop misleading people overseas.

The military has also called on Mr Hughes to stop.

The military spokesman, Major Leweni, says Mr Hughes has lost face after abandoning his job and is using misinformation as an excuse.

Mr Leweni says the overseas media also has a responsibility to check the accuracy of statements because they are doing more damage than good as Fiji tries to move forward.

It is not clear when in recent weeks and to whom Mr Hughes made the alleged comments.