#header-inner img {margin: 0 auto !important; #header-inner {text-align: Center ;} Fiji Coupfourpointfive: 2009-06-07

Saturday, June 13, 2009

FNPF tightens belt to recover money

Sources say Fiji's interim regime is changing the amount being paid out to retirees to try and recover the millions of dollars FNPF lost on investments since the December 2006 coup.

After the coup, the military regime appointed its own board to supposedly free FNPF of corruption and protect retirees money. Aisake Taito was appointed CEO and Parmesh Chand, James Datta, Daniel Urai and Felix Anthony were appointed Board members.

Millions of dollars was already lost under the previous Board, which had invested money into projects like the five star $150 million Natadola Resort. Thousands of dollars of FNPF money was paid in excessive allowances for builders and contractors.

FNPF also invested money in the Momi Bay resorts development that was set to attract world famous brands like Marriot and Ritz Carlton.

But the project, which was being developed by Matapo Ltd, was aborted after the coup.

Last week the FNPF Board sent out conflicting messages about what they were going to do to recover the $80 million dollars that went into the project.

FNPF bought Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva for $8 million and said it would be given a facelift.

The work should have been completed by now but there's no sign of any work being done. Sources say the piles ordered for phase one of the project are rusting near the project site.

The hotel is instead being used as a camp for soldiers.

French national, Gerard Saliot who owns COTEBA, the original developer of the Natadola project, is sueing FNPF for terminating his contract.

Similar legal action has also been taken by APRIL – Asia Pacific Resorts International Ltd – the management consultants of the project, who were also given the boot by the new Board.

Sources say Saliot has a strong chance of winning and this may see FNPF paying millions of dollars as compensation.

Retirees will suffer from FNPF review

An announcement by Frank Bainimarama that FNPF will review its pension scheme is a slap on the face of retirees.

Close to 4000 civil servants over the age of 55 had to retire on April 30, under a new decree put out by Bainimarama's regime.

Currently, Fiji’s retired workers receive 15% yearly as monthly payments from FNPF. Previously they got 25% but that got changed.

Sources say a review is likely to recommend 10%-12% annual pension payment based upon members savings.

This means that the amount of money retirees get from FNPF will be lower.

The FNPF has already made changes in March to stop withdrawals. The rigid measures it made were:

- Charging $20 fee for every partial withdrawal

- Limiting unemployment assistance to one withdrawal of $500 per year

- Canceling funding for short courses normally benefiting students in vocational training to up-skill themselves

- Only $2000 per semester withdrawal to fund children’s education at USP

- Members can no longer use their fund to educate their siblings – children of their brothers or sisters who are not fund members but unemployed.

- A member cannot withdraw funds for his or her brother or sister’s medical treatment or their children.

- Funeral assistance of $1500 but members not allowed to withdraw for their siblings’ children funeral

- Those seeking funds to go overseas after securing employment can only withdraw a maximum of $5000 depending on their eligibility

- Withdrawal for Small Business Equity Scheme has been suspended and imposed restrictions on members accessing $10,000 for Share Investment Schemes

- With the above restrictions, retired and unemployed members are the worst affected due to Fiji’s rapidly deteriorating economic climate, rising inflation and 20% devaluation.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Regime targets FNPF pensioners fund

The interim regime has decided to review the Fiji National Provident Fund pension scheme.

Interim Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama, while launching the new FNPF brand and logo in Suva on Wednesday night, announced the FNPF management will be asked to review and reform the pension scheme.

Sources say this means that those over 55 will see a decline in their monthly pension payments.

In his speech, Commodore Bainimarama said that he “noted with interest the generous amount paid out to pensioners by the Fund prior to 1999” and claimed “some pensioners received three to four times more than their contribution and interest earned”.

The military commander’s claim and directive to the FNPF Board is totally against the reason for harsh policy changes adopted by the Fund's board in March this year.

At that time, Board Chairman Parmesh Chand, Employers’ representative on the Board, James Datta, and Workers’ representative on the Board, Felix Anthony, were in total agreement with the changes despite widespread opposition from workers.

Commodore Bainimarama’s announcement that the management will review the pension scheme to make it more equitable, fair and sustainable, is completely the opposite of what the FNPF Board stated when they announced strict controls were necessary to safeguard the pension scheme.

Leung refuses to apply for licence under regime

Suva lawyer and former Fiji Law Society president, Graham Leung, says he will not re-apply for a practising certificate from Fiji's interim regime.

Leung's lawyer, Jay Raniga, has relayed this to the Suva Magistrates Court.

Leung was representing sacked Fiji National Provident Fund CEO, Olota Rokovunisei, and his Deputy CEO, Foana Nemani. Both have been charged by the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption for offences allegedly committed during their tenure of employment. They have consistently denied the allegations.

Jay Raniga informed the Court that Leung would no longer be able to represent the duo because he was not going to re-apply for his Practicing Certificate. Their case has been adjourned to 20th July when they are required to front in court with their new lawyer.

Leung is the first lawyer to publicly refuse to abide by the Legal Practitioners Decree, which replaces the Legal Practitioners Act and takes away the powers of the Fiji Law Society, which had until the promulgation of the Decree, been the regulatory authority for lawyers.

More than 60 of the 320 lawyers have re-applied for a Practicing Certificate from the new chief registrar, Ana Rokomokoti.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Police officers in Prasad bashing suspended

Three police officers based at Nausori Police Station, including a senior officer, who colluded with seven assailants involved in the brutal beating of special constable, Raj Shavendra Prasad, have been suspended from the Fiji Police Force.

The trio were suspended without pay more than a week ago after Coupfourpointfive exclusively reported Prasad’s beating and ill-treatment at the hands of the three officers.

The Fiji Police Force’s Police Complaints Department has launched an investigation to determine the circumstances leading to Prasad’s bashing by seven assailants, his forced detention in a cell at Nausori Police Station, and the wrongful charge of theft of a mobile phone.

Prasad was presented at Nausori Magistrates Court, bailed, and terminated from the Force on orders from Police Commissioner Esala Teleni. He was also hospitalised for 6 days at CWM Hospital in Suva where he was treated for internal injuries, and a hairline fracture to his skull.

His termination has been rescinded.

The three officers who've been suspended are Inspector Timoci Sesewai, and Police Constables Sanjay Chand and Sanjeet Kumar.

We reported on the 28th of May that after seven assailants beat Prasad and forced liquor down his throat while he was handcuffed on the 16th of May, they telephoned Timoci who, accompanied by a police driver, went to pick up Prasad from Baulevu where he was being kept by his captors.

Timoci returned to Nausori Police Station and while dragging Prasad out of the vehicle, also beat him. Prasad was handed to Police Constables Sanjay and Sanjeet, who locked him up in a cell.

Inside the cell, Prasad was also bashed by one of the two police constables. The beating resulted in him losing a tooth, which was later found on the cell floor.

A book for recording details of suspects put in police custody, was also tampered with, according to our sources. Initially, one of the two constables wrote down “no injuries” when recording Prasad’s detention. After realising that Prasad could not stand up or sit properly, and had to laid down on the cell floor in a sleeping position, the entry was changed to “some injuries” after white ink was used to erase the previous entry.

According to our sources, the cell book was confiscated by an officer from the Police Complaints Department.

All three officers face charges of misconduct and neglecting duties.

Background to new appointees

Salesi Temo, appointed today as acting judge, was Chief Magistrate under the former Laisenia Qarase government before he was replaced by Naomi Matanitobua.

Matanitobua was not appointed under the New Legal Order when appointments were first made on the 20th of April.

Temo’s younger sister, Salote Kaimacuata, also served as a resident magistrate but resigned a year ago. She is now working at UNICEF in Suva.

Eparama Rokoika, appointed today as a magistrate, was one of the magistrates whose appointment was terminated following the abrogation of the Constitution. Our legal sources are not surprised Rokoika accepted re-appointment under the New Legal Order.

Usaia Ratuvuki, appointed today as a magistrate, was employed as a lawyer at the Fiji Human Rights Commission. It's generally agreed the Commission lost its status as an independent body to safeguard human and constitutional rights and freedoms once the military dictatorship took up the reins after the December 5 2006.

The FHRC Director, who later became its Chairperson and Ombudsman under the interim regime, Dr Shaista Shameem, was vocal in her support of Frank Bainimarama’s regime, but like Ratuvuki lost her job following the abrogation of the Constitution.

Coupfourpointfive legal sources say while Shameem has so far opted not to accept any appointment under the New Legal Order, her earlier support of the regime rubbed off on Ratuvuki.

William Calanchini, who was appointed Judge today, will serve as a High Court civil judge, according to our legal sources. Sources have told us Calanchini also acted as a lawyer for the Republic of Fiji Military Forces during the court martials of those charged in connection with the November 2000 mutiny. Calanchini, an Australian citizen, was appointed as Arbitration Tribunal at the end of 2003.

When the Employment Relations Promulgation (ERP) came into force in April 2008, Calanchini become the Employment Tribunal. The ERP also established an Employment Court. Another Australian citizen, Jocelyn Scutt, was both Employment Court judge as well as a High Court civil judge. She returned to Australia after refusing re-appointment following the abrogation of the Constitution.

Calanchini is likely to serve as Employment Court judge as well. Our sources say as an Arbitration Tribunal and Employment Tribunal, Calanchini delivered many awards and decisions in favour of unions and workers.

Our sources say his appointment is surprising, given some of his recent pro-worker decisions, including the backdating of the restoration of four of the five per cent pay cut for civil servants and staying the retirement of Suva City Council workers over the age of 60. Both decisions were overturned by the regime, via new decrees.

Ousted SDL Cabinet Minister sworn in as magistrate

Chaitanya Lakshman, who was today sworn in as one of the three magistrates and two judges under the New Legal Order, was one of the nine Fiji Labour Party MPs appointed as Cabinet Ministers in the SDL Labour Multi-Party Cabinet, headed by the former prime minister, Laisenia Qarase.

It's understood Lakshman worked for the University of the South Pacific law faculty and was employed as the legal officer in the Complaints Division of Fiji Human Rights Commission before he contested the 2006 elections for the Labour Party. He won the Viti Levu South-Kadavu Indian seat – one of the 31 seats won by FLP.

Lakshman was appointed as the Minister for Local Government and Urban Development. Sources say following the Frank Bainimarama coup, Lakshman also acted as the secretary of the Fiji Bus Operators Association and devoted his time to completing his luxurious home alongside the Queens Highway in Navua.

Sources say Lakshman was practicing as a lawyer from his home but was struggling for business.

Lakshman comes from a family of solid financial background. His late father and his paternal uncles all carried the title "Prince" before their given name. His uncle Prince Gopal Lakshman was a FLP member of Parliament from May 1999 to May 2000 and September 2001 to March 2006.

Regime makes five new judicial appointments

One judge, one acting judge and three magistrates have accepted judicial appointments today, taking their oaths before ailing President, Ratu Josefa Iloilo, at Government House.

The five are William Calanchini, who is now a judge, former chief magistrate and regime appointed magistrate Salesi Temo, who is now an acting judge and magistrates Eparama Rokoika, Usaia Ratuvuki and Chaitanya Lakshman.

All five took their oaths under the New Legal Order and swore to uphold the Administration of Justice Decree, as well as uphold all other decrees promulgated after the abrogation of the Constitution on April the 10th.

A press release by the interim regime’s Information Ministry, stated the following were also at today's swearing-in: interim attorney general Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, re-appointed chief justice under the New Legal Order, Anthony Gates, and chief registrar Ana Rokomokoti.

The appointments are the first to be made since the Fiji Law Society was stripped of much of its working power by the interim regime a fortnight ago.

Prof Brij Lal's speech at Accountants conference

Below are excerpts of Professor Brij Lal's speech that was supposed to have been delivered at this Friday's Fiji Institute of Accountants conference. Read the full speech on the right of blog or click on link at the end.

When Mr. Murray McKenzie invited me to address your convention, I told him in all my naiveté that I didn’t know anything about Accountancy. ‘Not many accountants do either,’ he replied. That put my mind at rest. When he said that I should focus my address on the present and the future, I had to tell him that I made my living by predicting the past, He said reassuringly, ‘You will do just fine.’ So here I am, and I thank you for the privilege of being with you today.

The invitation to speak at this gathering was extended to me at a time that is so rapidly vanishing beyond recall. The constitution was still in place, even though it was observed more in the breach; a political dialogue process, although fraught and flawed in many ways, was under way; the international community was expressing a cautious and conditional willingness to get engaged to rescue Fiji from the cul-de-sac it was in; and there was a glimmer of hope – just a glimmer – that Fiji might finally find its feet on the ground again.

But all that is now gone. There is now no pretence about finding a solution to Fiji’s political problems in a timely fashion, in consultation with its friends in the regional and the international community. Fiji is now telling the world: we will find solutions to Fiji’s problems on our own terms, in our own time. The international community must not dictate terms. Fiji is a sovereign nation. Leave us alone. There is a palpable sense of exasperation in the voice of the interim administration: we are the guys who are on the right side of history; we are doing the right thing; why doesn’t the world understand us? Why indeed.

This question goes to the heart of the topic given to me: ‘Fiji and the International Community: Acceptance or Isolation: Are these the only choices?’ My response is: No. I don’t think Acceptance and Isolation are the only two choices available to the international community when dealing with Fiji. There is another alternative: Accommodation. And there is an alternative to Monologue: Dialogue. I shall return to this theme later.
Click to read full speech http://www.mediafire.com/?myjzyylmzjz

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Beaten police officer gets job back

The police officer who was beaten by seven assailants at Nausori on the 16th of May in an apparent act of revenge after he ticketed one of the men weeks earlier for drink driving, has been re-instated.

Coupfourpointfive exclusively reported the incident of the gross human right violation on the 28th of May and showed pictures of Raj Shavendra Prasad. The interim regime’s censors had directed the media not to broadcast or publish the story.

Prasad was also beaten by three police officers of the Nausori Police Station, and was locked up in a police cell instead of the assailants who were well known to at least one of the officers.

He was also wrongly charged with theft of a mobile phone and denied medical attention.

Prasad was admitted to the Colonial War Memorial Hospital from the 19th to the 25th of May after being granted bail by the Magistrates Court. He suffered severe facial injuries, a broken tooth, internal bodily injuries and a hairline fracture to his skull.

Prasad’s termination letter was signed by Regional Police Commander Eastern Senior Superintendent Emosi Baleinuku. The letter dated 18th May stated he was being terminated upon the orders of Police Commissioner Esala Teleni.

But the termination has been overturned through the Force Routine Order – FRO – that is the official Police Force communication similar to the Gazette for the State. The FRO announces promotions, demotions, transfers, terminations and cancellation of orders like termination orders.

The Force Routine Order is released weekly and the FRO of the beginning of June cancels Prasad’s termination.

Signed by the Police Director of Human Resources, Senior Superintendent Pariniappa Gounder, it says "the termination in respect of Special Constabulary(SC 2494) Raj Shavendra Prasad of Nausori Police Station is hereby cancelled".

Prasad is still recovering at home and our sources say his wages have also been re-instated.

Union to fight Telecom redundancy

The Fiji Posts and Telecommunications Employees Association (FPTEA)will fight fight a decision by the Telecom Fiji board of directors to make 177 workers redundant.

Telecom Fiji yesterday issued a press release confirming the redundancy plan.

Our sources have told us Telecom Fiji Limited has decided to use the criteria of work performance when selecting the employees who are to lose their jobs.

Sources say while TFL claims the redundancy is part of its cost cutting exercise, the Employment Relations Promulgation (ERP) made into law through promulgation of a decree by the interim regime in April, makes it unlawful for any employer to use performance as a precurson to redundancy.

The FPTEA general secretary is Attar Singh. Singh is also the general secretary of Fiji Islands Council of Trade Unions (FICTU) and the chairman of Movement for Democracy in Fiji.

Our sources have established that TFL is offering 2 months pay upfront and one week’s pay for each year of service.

If this redundancy package is enforced, it will mean that each of the 177 workers will receive a meager sum.

177 workers make up almost 20% of Telecom Fiji workforce.

Sources say FPTEA has held meetings with members, who are outraged at their employer’s actions.

The Chairman of Telecom Fiji Ltd is Felix Anthony, an active supporter of the interim regime. Anthony is the general secretary of Fiji Trades Union Congress.

According to sources, a union leader for the last 19 years, Anthony has a consistent record of supporting employers and being anti-union after the 5th December 2006 coup.

Sources say the union will decide in the next few days on their next course of action.

An experiment in nation building

This is an extract of the speech Graham Leung was to have delivered at the annual Fiji Institute of Accountants Congress convention to be held at the Sheraton Fiji this Friday.

But Professor Brij Lal, Richard Naidu and Leung were dropped from the speakers list after police warned the permit to hold the convention would be dropped if they spoke.

See link to the whole speech on the right of blog.

Mr President, Your excellencies, members of council, members of the FIA, ladies and gentlemen. It is an honor and privilege to speak to you this morning.

We have had five coups in twenty-two years. Dictatorship and arbitrariness has replaced the rule of law, democracy and human rights.

We have a regime whose authority is based on force rather than the consent of the people. That is our reality. Who can say with certainty that this scenario will not continue beyond September 2014? The prospect is depressing. How do we climb out of this quicksand into which we are fast sinking?

Fiji is not just in a political, but a deep financial crisis. The root of that crisis stems from the underlying political instability and coups which have ravaged the country over the last two decades. This crisis cannot be solved merely by getting the economic fundamentals right, because its origins lie in systemic political and governance issues. This crisis will not solve itself if we just ignore it. No matter how attractive the fiscal and policy incentives cobbled together by the regime, there will be few takers given the present political instability and uncertainty. And the confidence needed to restore the economy will only come if we make the right decisions going forward.

The world has changed since 1987. Human rights concerns do matter. And in the world of real politick, we are vulnerable and small enough to be held accountable. Call it double standards, call it what you will. That is how international relations work. The regime may well think it can defy external pressures. But it will come at the expense of further decline in social services, our standard of living, decay in infrastructure, increased poverty, crime and other social ills.
Click link for full speech -http://www.mediafire.com/?jemzt3tjzni

More excuses for extending PER

Fiji's Permanent Secretary for Information Lieutenant-Colonel Neumi Leweni claims the Public Emergency Regulations is providing stability and helping the regime in its nation-building intiatives.

What he doesn’t say is that the regulations is censoring the free flow of information that breaches Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that Fiji is a signatory of.

Leweni claims the emergency regulations are benefiting Fiji and that it has made most media outlets more “responsible with the way they report on national issues”.

If that is so, then why has the regime not allowed the media to report on issues like unemployment, job losses, water cuts, deteriorating health services at public hospitals or even the pathetic state of roads and highways.

The bashing of a police constable by seven men more than three weeks ago, his assault by three police officers and his termination was not reported by the media because the regime’s censors prevented the publication and broadcasting of the story.

In his statement yesterday, Leweni concludes the absence of politics from the national agenda “is contributing positively towards peace and stability of the nation” adding "people are now more focused with lives, families and work”.

But he does not provide any evidence of how suppressing criticism of the regime in the media is contributing towards stability or how anti-regime comments have affected the nation’s security before April 10th, or how it will have an impact on the security situation if allowed to be broadcast and published once again.

Emergency regulations extended

Fiji's interim regime has quietly extended the Public Emergency Regulations which expires today for another 30 days.

The emergency regulations were enforced by the regime following the abrogation of the Constitution and overthrow of the Fiji Court of Appeal Ruling of 9th April, which declared the 2006 coup illegal.

In the statement issued yesterday, the Permanent Secretary for Information, Lieutenant-Colonel Neumi Leweni said the interim regime, acting on the advice of the security forces considered the need to extend the regulations, in order to provide greater stability and focus on the regime’s nation-building initiatives.

Leweni claims the regime, in extending the PER, “is guided by its intentions to direct the nation towards a harmonious society that is free from all forms o discrimination”.

Even though regime had decided that the emergency regulations would be extended, they deliberately created confusion with the interim Defence Minister Ratu Epeli Ganilau telling Fijilive yesterday that the national security council was meeting to deliberate on the extension of the PER. He said the public “will be informed as soon as the decision is made”.

Radio Legend FM in its major news bulletins late yesterday afternoon also quoted Ganilau as saying the “military and police will make security assessments before deciding on whether the regulation should remain”. Ganilau told Radio Legend FM a decision would be made today.

The extension of the emergency regulations means censorship of the news for another month.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Draunidalo denies being advisor to Methodist Church

Fijian lawyer and the daughter of Adi Kuini Speed, Tupou Draunidalo has denied she is an advisor to the Methodist Church.

The pro-Frank Bainimarama blog site, Real Fiji News, names Draunidalo as an advisor to the Methodist Church. The church has had its Annual General Meeting cancelled by Bainimarama, because he had objections to two ministers being involved in the church.

Below is an email sent by Draunidalo to Coupfourpointfive:

I admire the vivid imagination of the people at Real Fiji News.

I do not advise any church minister especially those that have any bad intentions towards Reverend Koroi and Reverend Tuikilakila. Reverend Koroi was very close to my parents in 1987 when my stepfather (Dr. Bavadra) was deposed as Prime Minister and he officiated at my stepfather's funeral. Reverend Tuikilakila is my father's (Colonel Draunidalo) first cousin. I have met with him once post 2006 coup for my father's funeral service in January 2007.

The bloggers have conveniently forgotten to mention that both Reverends Kanailagi and Lasaro have political views that both my mother (Adi Kuini Vuikaba) and I diametrically opposed in the 2001 election campaigns. My mother in public (while she was very ill) and I in the engine room. We used our time and resources for that good cause but why allow facts to get in the way of a good story?

Especially, when some current interim cabinet Ministers were in total collusion with the two gentlemen in 2001 to ensure that Mr. Qarase and his SDL party were elected to Parliament. In fact, didn't Mr. Bainimarama choose Mr. Qarase as interim Prime Minister instead of an elected member of parliament? The same Mr. Bainimarama who deposed to the Courts that he could not secure the return of the Labour/FAP/VLV Coalition government after the Chandrika Prasad decision.

My, my what short memories they have there at Real Fiji News. The difference between me and the usual coup supporters like them is that I respect the will of the majority and let the ballot box make the decision. If I lose, so be it.

By the way, and for the record - the only Reverend I consulted closely post 2006 coup is Reverend Yabaki (for the CCF amicus application) and both the good Reverend and the CCF are (publicly) a part of Mr. Bainimarama's Charter and electoral reform apparatus.

Im sorry but the credit for advice to the Methodist church will need to be attributed elsewhere.

Tupou Draunidalo

Accountants told to cancel key speakers

The Police Comissioner, Esala Teleni, has written to the Fiji Institute of Accountants telling it to cancel three people already confirmed to speak at the Fiji Institute of Accountants Congress.

The two-day conference starts this Friday in Nadi.

Coupfourpointfive has been told that FIA President, Murray McKenzie, received a letter from Teleni yesterday afternoon, at 3pm. In the letter, Teleni demanded that keynote speaker, academic Dr Brij Lal, outspoken lawyer and former Fiji Law Society President Graham Leung and, prominent Suva lawyer Richard Naidu be removed as speakers and panelists from the Congress.

Dr Lal had already arrived from Canberra, for the conference. According to the programme, Leung was to speak after Lal had made the keynote address. Lal, Leung and Naidu were also panelists, along with interim Attorney-General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, for the first day of the Congress.

According to sources, Teleni demanded that McKenzie reply to the ultimatum by this morning. He also stated in his letter that should the FIA refuse to remove the three speakers, he would make sure the Congress was cancelled.

Our sources say the FIA has a permit to hold the Congress. The sources say FIA had informed the Commissioner Western Dr Lal, Leung and Naidu were speakers as well as panelists. There were no apparent objections but the permit required the FIA not invite media and to avoid discussing political issues or the current political climate in the country.

Coupfourpointifve has been told that Teleni's letter is likely to have been instigated by Sayed-Khaiyum, who is said to have a habit of developing cold feet, even though he has confirmed his attendance at the conference.

Sources say earlier this year, the interim attorney general failed to turn up as a guest on Fiji Television's Close-Up program to discuss the launch of Movement for Democracy, with Movement Chairman Attar Singh.

It's understood McKenzie and FIA wil agree to Teleni's ultimatum because they do not wasnt to risk cancelling the Congress - even if it goes ahead without Lal, Leung and Naidu.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Regime in tight position over PER

Fiji has been told that it must lift the Public Emergency Regulations, which expires this Wednesday, or next month's Asia-Pacific broadcasting conference will be relocated.

The emergency regulations has been in force since the April 10th.

Our sources have established that editors and news directors of all media outlets, which have been under heavy censorship for two months, will be summoned, most likely individually, for a one-on-one meeting with Permanent Secretary for Information, Lieutenant-Colonel Neumi Leweni in the next few days.

Sources say the interim regime has found itself in a very tight corner due to its commitment to host the Asia-Pacific Institute for the Broadcasting Development (AIBD) General Assemby next month.

The week long assembly will be held at Nadi from July the 19th to the 26th.

The offer to host the conference in Fiji was made by Leweni when he attended last year's meeting,where he was elected a Vice-President.

Coupfourpointfive has been told that if the emergency regulations are not lifted on June the 10th, the AIDB will not allow Fiji to host the conference and will look for an alternative host nation that cherishes press freedom.

As a result the regime has found itself in a no-win situation because should AIBD cancel the hosting right, the country's already tarnished reputation, will become even more stained.

Fiji will also lose out on valuable foreign exchange and tourist dollars.

Coupfourpointfive has been told the regime want to talk to editors because lifting the regulations will mean absolute media freedom and criticism of the regime.

Our sources say the regime is also planning to re-impose the emergency regulations after the conference in August, to prevent the Methodist Church from holding its annual conference that it has already banned.

Fiji Times columnist detained

Fiji Times columnist Kamal Iyer was taken to Queen Elizabeth Barracks on Friday.

Coupfourpointfive has been told Iyer was intimidated and asked to change his views in his columns in the future.

Military sources told us Iyer was taken to QEB by plain clothes soldiers in an unmarked vehicle after midday on Friday.

According to them, the Commanding Officer of Third Infantry Regiment (3FIR) Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba Mara, commonly known as Roko Lui, wanted to speak to Iyer.

Iyer was taken to Roko Lui's office where another senior officer, Sitiveni Qiliho, who has just returned from study leave overseas, was also present during the interview.

Roko Lui and the top brass of the military did not like Iyer's opinions of the regime and their Commander Frank Bainimarama.

Sources say Iyer refused to make a commitment that he would change his columns and looked calm during the interview.

Iyer was dropped back home by the same plain clothes soldiers in an unmarked vehicle, after spending 45 minutes with Roko Lui.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Hughes has evidence of coup conspirors

An investigation by Coupfourpointfive has found that detectives in Fiji were investigating 10 people for conspiracy before the December 2006 coup.

Our intelligence network, who have well-placed contacts in both police and the army, say files containing evidence of the shadowy figures, were removed from the police Criminal Intelligence Department Office, as soon as the military coup, led by the army commander Frank Bainimarama, was successfully executed.

Coupfourpointfive has also been reliably told that ousted Police Commissioner Andrew Hughes took incriminating evidence, contained in the files, with him when he left for Australia, a week before the coup.

At a press conference on November the 23rd, 2006, Andrew Hughes, Moses Driver and Kevueli Bulamaivalu, revealed they had credible information of a minimum of 10 people involved in conspiring against Qarase's government. The 10 included senior military officers, former military officers, senior civil servants, former and current politicians.

Sources say the Fiji Labour Party leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, and former Great Council of Chiefs chairman and leader of the National Alliance Party, Ratu Epeli Ganilau, were two people among the 10.

Their media interviews and statements following the coup condoned Bainimarama's action instead of condemning it.

When the interim government was formed in January 2007, Ganilau accepted the role of interim Home Affairs Minister while Chaudhry was appointed interim Finance and Sugar Minister.

Two other Labour stalwarts, Lekh Ram Vayeshnoi and Poseci Bune, were also appointed. It is not clear whether they too were involved in the initial planning of the Bainimarama coup, but they knew about it via Chaudhry.

Coupfourpointfive has also found that interim Attorney-General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, was the legal advisor of the National Alliance Party and was involved in the conspiracy.

Hughes, Driver and Bulamaivalu were all sacked from the Police Force immediately after the coup.

The only person who still has evidence about the people behind the coup is Andrew Hughes.

Our military and police sources say some of their colleagues who believed Frank Bainimarama when he called for the removal of Laisenia Qarase in a clean-up campaign, now regret colluding with him to overthrow the government.

No leads into arson at Singh's office

Fiji police say they're still investigating a fire a week ago at the office of trade unionist Attar Singh.

The Fiji Post & Telecommunications Employees Association office in Knollys street, was set alight in a clear case of arson between 9pm and 10pm on Saturday the 30th of May.

A security guarding a nearby property was alerted to the blaze when the alarm was triggered at the FPTEA office.

His quick action saved the building from being engulfed in flames and he managed to extinguish the blaze before the arrival of firemen.

Below are pictures that show it was arson.

1. The arsonist, or arsonists, apparently entered the compound through the rear boundary and used petrol to start the fire. This is the empty gallon, smelling of petrol, left behind.

2.The jug was used to spill petrol inside the front lounge of the office through an open louvre window next to the main entrance.

3. The charred floor in the lounge.

4. A farmer's hat, normally worn by soldiers, was left on the steps of the front door of the office.

5. Charred chair after the fire.

6. Charred table in the office.