In a surprising twist of political ideology, Mahendra Chaudhry, Finance Minister in NFP-FLP Coalition government of Dr Timoci Bavadra in 1987, and victim of three coups, became a turn-coat when he supported Frank Bainimarama's overthrowing of the Laisenia Qarase government on 5th December 2006.
Chaudhry - together with his deposed MPs Lekh Ram Vayeshnoi, Tom Ricketts and Poseci Bune - accepted key portfolios in Bainimarama’s interim Cabinet in January 2007.
Chaudhry was the interim Finance and Sugar Minister for 18 months, up until mid-August 2008.
Bune did not retain his position in a reshuffle in January 2008 but the other three were re-appointed.
Vayeshnoi and Ricketts also quit the interim Cabinet with their leader last August after having trumpeted Bainimarama and the regime’s policies for 18 months.
Chaudhry is on public record as having supported media censorship, especially after revelations of his $2 million secret stash in Australia, which resulted in the deportation of Fiji Sun and Fiji Times newspaper publishers in February and May of 2008.
He also condoned the human rights violations. Chaudhry publicly stated he approved Bainimarama’s $184,000 leave payout and the $45.5 million over-expenditure of army in 2007 respectively because they were necessary expenses.
Chaudhry and his son, Rajendra, publicly supported the Peoples Charter and the activities of FICAC.
He also told the people of Fiji in February last year to learn to live with high food prices.
Ratu Epeli Ganilau also accepted a Home Affairs and Immigration portfolio in the interim regime in January 2007. He authorised the deportation of the publishers who were apprehended by immigration officers in the middle of the night and taken to Nadi. He is currently the interim Defence Minister.
Lekh Ram Vayeshnoi described Bainimarama as “God-sent” and the coup as a revolution in November 2007.