#header-inner img {margin: 0 auto !important; #header-inner {text-align: Center ;} Fiji Coupfourpointfive: 2009-07-12

Make Your Vote Count

Make Your Vote Count

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Fatiaki new chief justice of Vanuatu

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.

Regime caught with pants down over meeting

The dictatorship regime has been basically caught with its pants down after learning that the Methodist Church violated conditions of a permit given to the Church leadership to hold its powerful Standing Committee meeting on Friday.

The permanent secretary for Information, Leiutenant Colonel Neumi Leweni, told Fiji Television news on Friday they were displeased at the Church leadership for allowing the violation of the permit conditions.

Early this week, military commander and the interim regime's prime minister Frank Bainimarama had stated that while no Methodist Church conference was going to be held this year, the Standing Committee would also need a permit to hold any meeting.

He said this was relayed to Church President Reverend Ame Tugaue.

On Thursday, the Methodist Church leadership applied for a permit and permission to go ahead with the meeting was given on early Friday morning. Leweni said the permit contained conditions the Standing Committee had to be comply with.

One of the conditions was that former leaders, Reverends Manasa Lasaro and Tomasi Kanailagi, would be excluded from the Standing Committee and all its meetings. But we can confirm that both Reverend Lasaro and Kanailagi were at the meeting to discuss Bainimarama's decision to disallow the annual Church conference to be held in Rewa next month.

So far the Church has not made is official position known to both the regime and its membership about the status of the conference. Friday's meeting was supposed to come to a firm conclusion on whether they would abide by the directive from a dictator or go ahead with the conference by ignoring Bainimarama's ultimatum.

Leweni told Fiji TV news they would now talk to the Church leadership. When asked if there would be repercussions for the Church, Leweni said there would be none but a normal meeting between "adults" would be held to try and get an explanation from the Church leadership.

Leweni's muted response is a far cry from his arrogant and confrontational tone two weeks ago when he told pro-regime radio station Legend FM they were going to find out where and why the Standing Committee was meeting when the committee met two weeks ago.

Driti defiant over leave

Sources have today confirmed to Coupfourpointfive that Land Force Commander Colonel Pita Driti was ordered to take leave almost a fortnight ago, but he defiantly returned to work after just a day.

Sources within the military have told us that our story that Driti was ordered to go on leave because he was seen talking to former Methodist Church of Fiji leader, Reverend Manasa Lasaro, was correct.

But they say a defiant Driti returned to Queen Elizabeth Barracks on Friday the 10th of July and was seen enjoying tea at the Officers' Mess with other army officers.

Since then, the rumours about have been persistent Driti and the Commander of 3rd Force Infantry Regiment (3FIR) Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba Mara being at loggerheads with their commander and dictatorship regime's prime minister Frank Bainimarama

On Monday the 14th of July, Bainimarama was missing from the morning tea function held by the officers, in which both Driti and Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba Mara were present. Military and regime spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel, Neumi Leweni, had then said Banimarama was resting at home.

Soon after Driti was ordered to go on leave, Bainimarama left for Port Vila, Vanuatu to attend the Melanesian Spearhead Group meeting.

He returned to Fiji on Saturday July the 11th.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Bainimarama interferes with judiciary?

Reliable sources close to the judiciary have told us that those charged with conspiracy to assasinate interim Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama and four others in November 2007, are likely to be imprisoned by High Court judge Daniel Gounder.

Sources say Bainimarama has told Gounder he should put the men away for a long time.

According to sources, Bainimarama fears that some of those charged with the assassination conspiracy, who happen to be elite soldiers of Counter Revolutionary Warfare Unit that was disbanded by Bainimarama after the November 2000 mutiny, may lend support to any insurrection against him if the military carries out such an act.

Sources say this is a classic case of paranoia on the part of Bainimarama. The men, including Naitasiri High Chief Ratu Inoke Takivekata, have denied all charges.

Two of those charged in the same plot, New Zealand businessman and citizen Ballu Khan, and former Land Force Commander Joela Baledrokadroka, were discharged by the High Court after no substantive evidence was found against them.

Khan was almost beaten to death by soldiers in November 2007 and had to spend almost two months in hospital.

Khan was eventually able to leave Fiji and return to New Zealand while Baledrokadroka is studying at the Australian National University.

Chief magistrate sacked

Chief Magistrate Amal Gulab Khan was sacked two days ago by the interim regime for reasons that have not been revealed by either party.

Khan was appointed Chief Magistrate about two weeks after the Constitution was abrogated on April the 10th and he accepted his appointment under the New Legal Order.

The website for the interim government carried a release that quoted the Information Permanent Secretary, Lieutenant-Colonel Nieumi Leweni, as saying a termination letter was issued to Khan by the President on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, two judges and a magistrate were sworn in at Government House yesterday.

Lawyer Tomasi Bainivalu is the new magistrate, while Anjela Wati and Paul Madigan were appointed judges.

Wati was re-appoited under the New Legal Order. Madigan was a lawyer for FICAC. He is also a good friend of interim attorney general Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum - a friendship that astarted during the interim AG's studies in Hong Kong where Madigan was based.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Chaudhry criticises Bainimarama

Fiji Labour Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry has criticised interim prime minister Frank Bainimarama's "Strategic Framework for Change" delivered in a televised national address on July 1.

In a statement posted on the Fiji Labour Party website, Mr Chaudhry says the regime has got its priorities all wrong if it thought it could shelve a resolution to the country’s political crisis for three years while it focused on economic and infrastructure development.

"We should have learnt from our recent past just how important political stability is for economic well being. Unless we have a stable, inclusive and democratic political environment acceptable to the international community and our development partners, it will be very difficult to create the investor confidence necessary to stimulate private sector growth," Chaudhry said.

He said the regime lacked accountability and transparency and its transactions were very worrying.

Chaudhry warned Fiji was going to be plunged deeper into isolation as the international community was not going to buy the three year delay.

He said Bainimarama's address carried nothing new.

"Government intends to concentrate on infrastructure and the economy, but these are the normal functions of any government."

While criticising the interim regime for lack of transparency and accountability, Chaudhry forgets that in July 2008 when Bainimarama's $184,000 leave payout was revealed by the media, the Labour leader strongly defended the army commander saying the payment was totally justified and that he as interim finance minister had approved it in February 2008.

The approval of the payment co-incided with revelations by Fiji Times and Fiji Sun about Chaudhry's $2 million stash in Australian bank accounts.

Chaudhry was cleared of tax evasion by the regime in a secretive inquiry revealed to the people after it was completed in 3 days.

In November 2008, when it was revealed that the army used $45.5 million in funds in addition to its 2007 budget allocation, Chaudhry again came to the defence of the regime and Bainimarama.

At that time he said, he had approved the over-expenditure as it was necessary for maintenance of national security, law and order.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Get rid of Bainimarama petition

Coupfourpointfive has created an online petition to gauge how many people want Frank Bainimarama and Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum out and want Fiji to return to democracy as soon as possible.

Only genuine signatures please. We will go through them and delete those which are false.


Click on the link and also email it to your friends:

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/getridofbainimarama


In fairness another petition has been created for those who think Frank Bainimarama should stay to fulfill the People's Charter.

Again a warning that we will be able to tell the genuine signatures from the false ones.

Click on the link and also email it to your friends.
http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/keepbainimarama

Are Driti and Roko Lui suspended?

Sources have told Coupfourpointfive that the Land Force Commander Pita Driti and Commanding officer of the 3rd Infantry Regiment (3FIR) Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba Mara, also known as Roko Lui, have been suspended by military commander Frank Bainimarama.

However, both are still at Queen Elizabeth Barracks.

If reports about their suspension are correct then both Driti and Roko Lui are defying Bainimarama.

Both were at the morning tea at Officers Mess on Monday in which Bainimarama was noticeably absent, reportedly resting after his Vanuatu trip.

According to sources, Colonel Mohamed Aziz is technically the Land Force Commander but Driti has publicly stated that he was on a day's lave last week and is still the Land Force Commander.

Roko Lui has not made any public statements.

Tension within the army

Sources from within the Queen Elizabeth Barracks have expressed fear that the controversy surrounding the cancellation of the Methodist Church conference is inevitably leading to tension within the rank of the army as a majority of the soldiers are Methodists.

According to sources the military intelligence is aware that the conference is likely to go ahead despite interim prime minister's verbal orders that it is cancelled.

The sources say soldiers do not want to be pitted against Church members to stop the conference if it proceeds because it could lead to confrontation, violence and bloodshed. The say the soldiers are fully aware of the gravity of the situation.

Coupfourpointfive has been told that soldiers and officers cannot understand Bainimarama's rationale to cancel the Methodist conference when the radical New Methodist Church is allowed absolute freedom to carry out public crusades.

Rewa defiant

The province of Rewa is all geared to host the Methodist Church conference next month, despite the interim regime ordering its cancellation.

Interim Prime Minister and Military Commander Frank Bainimarama told Radio Legend FM that he met Church President Reverend Ame Tugaue on Monday to reiterate the regime's decision.

But sources have confirmed to us that last Saturday the Marama Roko Tui Dreketi Ro Teimumu Kepa and other influential members of the province of Rewa, met the Standing Committee of the Methodist Church in Suva and relayed their wish that the conference go ahead.

Should this happen, it will put the Church on a warpath with Bainimarama who has also stated that the Standing Committee will now need a permit to hold future meetings.

Bainimarama was on Radio Legend FM (which has given him prominent coverage for two days) this afternoon saying the Church must remove political elements - namely Reverend Tomasi Kanailagi and Reverend Manasa Lasaro - from the Standing Committee if the Church wishes to hold its annual conference in 2010 and beyond.

Fiji won't be allowed to attend Forum

A spokesman for the Australian Prime Ministers office says Fiji won't be allowed to attend the Pacific Leaders Forum in Cairns next month.

Frank Leverett has told Radio Australia that although Fiji is still a member of the Forum, it has been suspended from attending any meetings.

Fiji was suspended in May after interim prime minister Frank Bainimarama failed to set a date for elections later this year.

The leaders of Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands have said they want the sanctions on Fiji lifted.

Yesterday New Zealand prime minister John Key said Fiji will be discussed at next month's Forum but it will not dominate discussions.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Rumours of military unrest rife

The rumour mills in Fiji have been busy with theories of unrest within the Republic of Fiji Military Forces.

One blogsite even reported today that army commander Frank Bainimarama had been arrested.

We can tonight establish the following to be as near factual as they can be:

1. There has been no military coup against Frank Bainimarama. Nor has he been ousted from power.

2. RFMF's Land Force Commander Pita Driti and Commander of 3rd Infantry Regiment (3FIR), Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba Mara, also known as Roko Lui, are basically playing mind games with both Bainimarama and the people of Fiji.

3. The military council, comprising of the top brass of the army and those who have the ability to influence the regime, met on Saturday. The meeting was a regular Saturday meeting. It has emerged that Driti and Roko Lui want to put certain demands to Bainimarama. It is not clear whether those demands relate to the cancellation of the Methodist Church annual conference or the general elections as stated in the Fiji Court of Appeal ruling of April the 9th, that was thrown out by the regime along with the 1997 Constitution.

4. There is some credibility to rumours that both Driti and Roko Lui were - and are possibly behaving like joint commanders of RFMF - when Bainimarama was in Vanuatu for MSG meeting.

5. The top brass of the army had morning tea at the Officers' Mess at Queen Eliazabeth Barracks. Bainimarama was not present; according to Neumi Leweni, he was resting.

6. We have been informed that this evening, military and possibly police were gearing up to round up people they susoect have been blogging about military unrest.

Ousted Thai leader tipped to develop Grand Pacific Hotel

We have credible information that Thaksin Shinawatra, who arrived in Fiji on board his private jet last week, was invited by Suva lawyer Dilip Jamnadas.

The Thai PM met interim prime minister Frank Bainimarama, interim permanent secretary for finance and Fiji National Prvovident Fund chairman, John Prasad, and interim attorney general Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum last Monday.

It's understood a deal was struck for Shinawatra to buy the derelict Grand Pacific Hotel at the meeting.

The GPH was supposed to have been developed into Suva's top hotel by FNPF and Fiji Investment Corporation.

Coupfourpointfive has been told Shinawatra handed over a cheque for $250,000 to Prasad, reportedly a deposit for the deal. But it's believed the cheque wasn't deposited into the FNPF account by Prasad until today.

Sayed-Khaiyum and Prasad also informed Shinawatra that his Fiji solicitor and legal advisor will now be Caesar Lateef of Lateef & Lateef, and not Dilip Jamnadas.

Jamnadas is believed to be angry he was betrayed by the interim attorney general and Prasad, who are being accused of hijacking prospective investment opportunities suitable for Shinawatra.

Bainimarama to contest 2014 elections?

We have received word from Port Vila, Vanuatu, that interim Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama has told both the Melanesian Spearhed Group leaders as well as a journalist, that he'll contest the general elections scheduled by him for September 2014.

Bainimarama is believed to have told a veteran journalist covering the meet, Radio Australia's Sean Dorney,that he'll be a candidate.

If elections are held in 2014 as scheduled, the Commodore will be 60 years old.

More on this as the story develops.

Key says consensus against Fiji intact

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key believes a Pacific-wide consensus against Fiji's military regime has not been broken, despite three Melanesian country's supporting the interim government of Commodore Frank Bainimarama.

Leaders of the countries which form the Melanesian Spearhead Group - Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu - have praised Commodore Bainimarama's plans to delay elections until 2014.

The countries say they will lobby the Pacific Leaders Forum to lift sanctions against the regime at next month's meeting in Cairns.

However Mr Key told Radio New Zealand's current affairs programme Morning Report the group had not asked for Fiji to be re-admitted to the forum.

Mr Key said during his visit to the Pacific last week he sensed the leaders of those nations were frustrated by some of the actions taken by Fiji.

He believes Melanesian support is based on a genuine desire to see Fiji come up with a workable solution that will deliver democracy and end the long-term coup culture in Fiji.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Melanesian support dismays democracy group

A Fiji democracy group says it is disappointed the leaders of Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu have given support to Fiji's interim leader Frank Bainimarama.

After meeting Friday with the leaders of the countries which form the Melanesian Spearhead Group, Commodore Bainimarama won their support for the lifting of the suspension of Fiji from the Pacific Islands Forum.

The Melanesian countries plan to take Fiji's case to the Pacific Islands Forum at next month's meeting in Cairns.

The Prime Ministers also praised Commodore Bainimarama's roadmap for Fiji, which will see him in power for five more years.

Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare, told the ABC he has been convinced that some of Mr Bainimarama's plans were good for Fiji.

The president of the Australian-based Fiji Democracy Movement, Usaia Waqatairewa, says the people of Fiji feel betrayed by the Melanesian leaders' failure to stand up for them.

He says those country's leaders should not be respecting the Commodore, who gained power through a coup.

Melanesian support dismays democracy group

A Fiji democracy group says it is disappointed the leaders of Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu have given support to Fiji's interim leader Frank Bainimarama.

After meeting Friday with the leaders of the countries which form the Melanesian Spearhead Group, Commodore Bainimarama won their support for the lifting of the suspension of Fiji from the Pacific Islands Forum.

The Melanesian countries plan to take Fiji's case to the Pacific Islands Forum at next month's meeting in Cairns.

The Prime Ministers also praised Commodore Bainimarama's roadmap for Fiji, which will see him in power for five more years.

Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare, told the ABC he has been convinced that some of Mr Bainimarama's plans were good for Fiji.

The president of the Australian-based Fiji Democracy Movement, Usaia Waqatairewa, says the people of Fiji feel betrayed by the Melanesian leaders' failure to stand up for them.

He says those country's leaders should not be respecting the Commodore, who gained power through a coup - Radio NZ