Justice Daniel Fatiaki, who was suspended by coup leader Frank Bainimarama almost a month after the 2006 coup, has been confirmed as the new Chief Justice of Vanuatu.
He is expected to soon take up his new appointment with sources saying there are indications that a few judges who refused re-appointment under the new legal order will be offered judges' positions once Fatiaki takes up his position as the head of Vanuatu's judiciary.
Fatiaki was suspended in early January 2007 by Bainimarama while he still assumed executive authority of the President, whose constitutional powers he usurped to execute the coup.
A month after Fatiaki's suspension, Anthony Gates was made the new Chief Justice by the Judicial Service Commission that saw the participation of Nazhat Shameem as a JSC member instead of the CJ.
A Tribunal was established by the dictatorship regime to hear trivial complaints against Fatiaki, including allegations of evading tax. His tax files were forcibly removed from Fiji Islands Revenue & Customs Authority (FIRCA).
The files were taken by Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) with the help of police after the then FIRCA chief executive, Tevita Banuve, refused to hand them over to FICAC.
As a result Banuve was also terminated as FIRCA CEO and relaced with Jitoko Tikolevu - a officer least qualified for the job. All this happened when Fiji Labour Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry was still the interim Finance Minister.
The Tribunal had not fully heard the case against Fatiaki as it's establishment was surrounded with controversy with Fatiaki challenging its existence through the judiciary. There was also minimal information about Fatiaki's collusion with George Speight in terms of advising him to formulate decrees after the third coup of May 2000.
But sources say Fatiaki helped Banimarama and the military formulate decrees as the army looked at ways to end the hostage crisis at parliament house following the coup.
Late last year - more than 20 months after his suspension, Fatiaki was paid $275,000 as compensation in a move spearheaded by none other than his most vociferous critic - interim Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum.
In return, Fatiaki also agreed that he would not pursue any legal action relating to the suspension against the dictatorship regime.
He vacated his official residence as Chief Justice.
The home is now being used by Bainimarama who announced this year the official army commander's quarters located next to the residence of New Zealand High Commissioner needed urgent renovations.