15 Apr 2014

Fiji police investigating Bainimarama

3:33 pm on 15 April 2014

The Fiji police say they are investigating the prime minister, Rear Admiral Frank Bainimarama, for being in breach of a regime decree and a law pertaining to the election promised for September.

If convicted for any of the breaches, he could face up to 10 years in jail.

The complaints were lodged by Mick Beddoes of the United Front for a Democratic Fiji.

The police say Rear Admiral Bainimarama is being investigated for campaigning without having his party registered, in contravention of the Political Parties Decree.

They say he is also being investigated for allegedly displaying Fiji's coat of arms on his campaign bus, in breach of the Coat of Arms of Fiji Act.

A police spokesperson, Ana Naisoro, says investigations are ongoing.

"We can confirm that another report was lodged by Mr Mick Beddoes, and currently investigations are ongoing. Similarly, to the one that was lodged a few weeks back. Investigations are continuing, once that is completed, then we will be able to release a statement on the outcome."

Ana Naisoro says it cannot give a timeframe as to when the investigations will be completed.

The police would not comment on whether Rear Admiral Bainimarama can approve candidates or campaign while the investigation is pending.

Mr Beddoes says the way the police handle the complaints will show whether the rule of law is taken seriously in Fiji.

He says the regime is breaching its own decrees on a daily basis.

"They're making a mockery of the rule of law. The idea of my complaint is to expose the shortcomings of the administration in enforcing the rule of law. They're either going to enforce the rule of law equally to everybody, or they are not. And either way, the way they handle my complaints will tell us all exactly what we can expect."

Mick Beddoes says the police are obliged to investigate any complaint they receive, and his against the prime minister should not be treated any differently.