23 Feb 2007

Former Fiji PM seeks compensation for his overthrow in 2000 Speight coup

10:20 am on 23 February 2007

The Fiji Labour Party leader and minister of finance in the current interim administration, Mahendra Chaudhry, is claiming over 60-thousand US dollars for entitlements owed to him by the state after he was deposed as prime minister in the 2000 Speight coup.

The Daily Post reports that Mr Chaudhry is taking legal action against the then permanent secretary of finance over the matter.

Mr Chaudhry claims that he was not paid the benefits and other related emoluments owed to him as prime minister from August 2000 to September 2001 when general elections were held.

The claim is based on a ruling of the Fiji Court of Appeal that the attempted abrogation of the 1997 Constitution was unlawful and Mr Chaudhry was still the legal prime minister until the 2001 general election.

The Suva High Court yesterday consolidated Mr Chaudhry's claim with a class action brought by him and other deposed members of the Labour coalition government who were held hostage for 56 days during the 2000 coup.

The former Labour parliamentarians are seeking compensation for their overthrow after serving only 12 months of their 5-year parliamentary term.

The court is expected to set a date in March to hear the case.