4 Mar 2010

Sentencing in Fiji assassination plot case due tomorrow

6:52 pm on 4 March 2010

The sentencing of eight men found guilty of plotting to assassinate Fiji's interim prime minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, is now expected to take place tomorrow.

Among those convicted for the 2007 plot are the high chief of Naitasiri, Ratu Inoke Takiveikata, a former director of the Fiji Intelligence Service and five former soldiers.

A New Zealand businessman, Ballu Khan, who was arrested over the plot, was released in 2008 after winning a stay of proceedings.

A Fiji military intelligence officer had told the court the plotters wanted to use explosives and arms from New Zealand.

He said the plot had the support of New Zealand, Australia, the US and Britian through their embassies in Suva.

He also said Australia was going to put up one billion dollars to kick start the economy.

A spokesperson for the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs says the claims of New Zealand's involvement in the plot are nonsense.

He says the New Zealand High Commission's only role was to provide consular services to Mr Khan.