25 Sep 2007

Former Fiji cabinet minister questions use of public funds in court cases

8:51 am on 25 September 2007

A former Fiji labour minister and now trade unionist is questioning the use of public funds to pay for the defence of the interim administration in legal cases brought against it.

Kenneth Zinck has told the Fiji Sun newspaper the December the 5th military takeover was not the intention of the taxpayers and their money should not be used to defend it.

Mr Zinck, who lost the May general election last year, says the 165-thousand US dollars allocated for the interim administration's defence should have been used to pay nurses who had gone on strike recently over their 5% pay cut.

Mr Zinck says people did not ask for December the 5th which was staged by the military.

He says the interim government has no right to use taxpayers' money because it was never elected.

Mr Zinck says Laisenia Qarase is paying the legal fees for his case from his own pockets and so should the interim administration.

The finance ministry has allocated 165-thousand US dollars for the state's defence part of which will be used to engage two Queen's Counsels from abroad.