#header-inner img {margin: 0 auto !important; #header-inner {text-align: Center ;} Fiji Coupfourpointfive: 2009-07-19

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Chaudhry and Qarase's agreement

Coupfourpointfive has been told Mahendra Chaudhry and Laisenia Qarase have an agreement on a plan to overthrow Frank Bainimarama's regime and take over ruling Fiji.

The two last met on July 8 at the opening of Rajendra Chaudhry's law office in Suva.

Sources say Chaudry and Qarase have been hatching how to return to government and have a plan in place.

If what've we've been told is true, then it is ironic they want to work together now, considering the squabbles when Qarase was prime minister.

After the 2006 coup, Chaudhry endorsed the illegal overthrow by saying Qarase was corrupt. He also accepted a position on Bainimarama's interim government.

Ro Teimumu's lawyer says charges will be defended

Legal proceedings against a Fijian Paramount Chief over a banned church conference have been deferred for 21 days.

Ro Teimumu Kepa has been charged in relation to a statement released on the internet supporting the holding of the Methodist Church conference in her village of Lomanikoro, in Rewa, just outside Suva.

Ro Teimumu's lawyer says his client is bearing up well, but the conditions of her bail mean she can't talk about the case - Radio Australia

Listen - http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/asiapac/stories/200907/s2635963.htm

Friday, July 24, 2009

Lasaro and Kanailagi in Court

Two former Methodist church leaders appeared in the Suva Magistrates Court this afternoon, a day after Rewa's paramount chief and the president and general secretary of the church were released on bail.

Reverends Manasa Lasaro and Tomasi Kanailagi appeared before magistrate Eparama Rokoika charged with participating in a meeting in contravention of the Public Emergecy Regulations.

It is alleged both attended last Friday's meeting of the Church Standing Committee.

Both were represented by lawyer Aseri Vakaloloma while the State was represented by DPP John Rabuku who as given 21 days to file disclosures.

Both were released on a bail of $500 each and will re-appear in Court on August 13th. The two clergies have ben ordered to surrender their passports to Court by Monday morning.

Magistrate Rokoika also ruled that both Lasaro and Kanailagi cannot attend the Church conference or a meeting that talks about politics.

The charging of the duo brings to five the number of Church clergies and a paramount chief being persecuted by the regime for being associated with moves to hold the annual conference to be hosted by Ro Teimumu in the chiefly village of Lomanikoro, Rewa next month.

Fijian Holdings aborts BP Oil buyout

As predicted by Coupfourpointfive two weeks ago, Fijian Holdings Limited has terminated its acquisition of BP South West Pacific Oil.

Two weeks ago FHL Managing Director Sereana Qoro confidently announced that the deal to purchase BP Oil for $190 million was delayed but definitely on.

But in a statement issued this afternoon, Qoro says the $25 million deposit they paid to BP to confirm the buyout will be returned.

In her statement Qoro says FHL exercised "its best endeavours in dealing with international banks but the delay was beyond our control". This confirms our theory that the firm had failed to acquire a loan for the massive deal.

It also confirms that BP Oil operations was over-valued. We had reported that BP Oil Fiji was valued at $100 mllion but FHL had signed a deal to buy the company for $190 million.

In May FHL sold its bluechip shares worth $40 million in Fosters Group Pacific to Fosters in a bid to raise more funds for the buyout.

Qoro says the $40 million from Fosters shares sale and $25 million deposit to be returned by BP places FHL "in a much stronger position in terms of Cash Flow and Net Asset position".

Three weeks ago the FHL Board ordered its Chairman Isoa Kaloumaira, Deputy Chairman Colonel Mohamed Aziz and Sereana Qoro to go on leave for five days to make way for a corporate governance audit.

Simultaneously, the regime announced it was going to conduct the audit and in the process it usurped the regulatory powers of Capital Markets Development Authority.

The audit was completed in 3 days just like Mahendra Chaudhry's $2 million stash inquiry and all three resumed duties.

The report has not been made public - which should have been released to the shareholders.

Sada Reddy making political statements

The dictatorship regime appointed Governor of the Reserve Bank Sada Reddy has been behaving like the interim Minister for Finance and making statements that would normally be the role of the Finance Minister or Treasurer in a democracy.

In a press release issued today Reddy said the foreign reserves has reached $700 million compared to $441 million before the devaluation. But he fails to say how much imports the reserves will cover or for what period of time.

700 million dollars is equivalent to only 336 million US dollars. Currently one Fiji dollar is worth only 48 cents USD.

At the same time Reddy says Fiji's economy is not out of the woods. He says the impact of the global financial crisis is being felt in Fiji and will continue to do so for the next couple of years.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Ro Teimumu and ministers out on bail

The High Chief of Rewa Ro Teimumu Kepa and two Methodist Church ministers have been released on bail after appearing in court this afternoon.

Ro Teimumu Kepa was charged with Contravening Public Order Act, Breaching of Public Emergency Regulations and Inciting against Public Order by publishing a letter on the internet.

The State prosecutor was regime appointed DPP John Rabuku.

Charges against Reverends Ame Tugaue and Tuikilakila Waqairatu are Contravening Public Order Act and Contravening permit to hold meeting.

In a packed courtroom Magistrate Eparama Rokoika ordered the three to appear in three weeks time and pay $500 bail.

They were asked to surrender their passports and told not to associate with former church presidents Manasa Lasaro and Kanailagi.

Savuloni Baleinatabua represented Ro Teimumu and Aseri Vakaloma represented the two church ministers.

62 year old Ro Teimumu is the widow of the late chief justice Sailosi Kepa.

Coupfourpointfive has been told that another member of the Church's Standing Committee, Viliame Gonelevu, is still in police custody.

Ro Teimumu family's speak out

The family of Ro Teimumu Kepa have put their story on the internationally recognised You Tube site.

The high chief was arrested on Tuesday night and released for a short time before she was taken in again last night, this time to the Queen Elizabeth barracks.

In the You Tube video, a man calling himself a family spokesperson says they've been forced to take their story to You Tube because of the media censorship in Fiji.

The video shows him and Ro Teimumu's eldest daughter, Adi Asenaca Kepa, talking about how soldiers came to escort the high chief to the central police station in Suva.

Ro Teimumu was arrested after she wrote a letter to members reaffirming that the Rewa province will host the Methodist Church's annual general conference, next month.

In the You Tube video, her family say she's refusing to eat and that she and the seven church ministers detained with her, are due in court today.

The family say they're concerned her human rights are being violated.

A family spokesperson says they're praying for her and urge her to be strong for her people.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X9hfbYnq694

Pro-regime media gives prominence to dictator

Fiji's pro-regime media namely State owned Radio Fiji and private Legend FM are continuing to give prominence and prime air time to dictatorship regime's head Frank Bainimarama and Permanent Secretary for Information Neumi Leweni to mis-inform the people of Fiji regarding the circumstances surrounding the arrest and detention of Marama Roko Tui Dreketi Ro Teimumu Kepa and the leadership of Methodist Church.

Radio Fiji and Communications Fiji Ltd - which operates five radio stations - two Hindi, two English and one Fijian station, have completely succumbed to censorship and allow the regime air time to state blatant lies and provide misinformation.

The Fiji Sun under the leadership of Peter Lomas sold its independence to the regime a few weeks before the imposition of the new legal order on 10th April and its daily editions glorify Bainimarama, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and other regime leaders in return for advertisements.

Both radio Fiji and Legend FM still say that Ro Teimumu and the Church leaders are being questioned by police. There is no mention of them being detained by the military or initially the police in Ro Teimumu's case. Both radio stations reported this morning that all four are being questioned by police.

The last shreds of neutrality, independence and impartiality of the Fiji Sun, Radio Fiji and Communications Fiji Ltd have well and trully gone with their decision to allow the regime absolute freedom to bombard innocent citizens with abuse and accusations and refusing to take the victims' side of the story in an attempt to try and get them aired or even for the censors to reject it.

Ro Teimumu spends night in military cell

The Marama Roko Tui Dreketi Ro Teimumu Kepa spent last night locked up in a military cell with her own personal blanket to brave the chill.

Ro Teimumu, arrested from Lomanikoro village in Rewa around 12am on Wednesday morning, spent close to 10 hours in a police cell at Central Police Station in Suva until she was taken to the CID headquarters in Toorak for interrogation.

Ro Teimumu was given temporary reprieve when she was released from police custody to rest at a home in Suva but was told to return last night for further questioning.

Sources have confirmed she went to the Central Police Station and after police completed their interview to try and establish whether she was inciting people, the high chief was told she was free and being formally released.

But at the same time Ro Teimumu was told by police that military officers wanted to question her as well.

We can confirm that while a few of her people from Rewa were waiting at the front entrance of CPS to take her home, soldiers arrived through the back gate of the police station located opposite the Reserve Bank of Fiji building.

The soldiers whisked Ro Teimumu away through the back gate in a military vehicle, unknown to the few people of Rewa who were waiting in front of the station.

We have confirmation that she was locked up in a military cell at Queen Elizabeth Barracks.

We can also confirm from sources close to the military that Frank Bainimarama's trusted ally Sitiveni Qiliho was seen repeatedly walking outside the cell in what sources say was an attempt to intimidate Ro Teimumu.

Qiliho was in full military uniform and armed with a pistol in a holster that he normally wears aroynd the knee. He is the operations chief of Third Infantry Regiment led by Ro Teimumu's nephew Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba Mara.

Coupfourpointfive can also confirm that the general secretary of Methodist Church Reverend Tuikilakila aqairatu, Reverend Manasa Lasaro and Reverend Tomasi Kanailagi were taken by soldiers to their respective homes last night to shower and change their clothes before being returned to QEB where they are also detained.

Meanwhile sources have told us that some people from Rewa province staying and working in Suva tried to pay a visit to Ro Teimumu last night but were stopped at the QEB main entrance and told to go away.

Analysis of Bainimarama's speech at AIDB

Frank Bainimarama's speech about media freedom at the Asia Institute for Broadcast Development conference in Nadi are in total contrast to the realities being practiced by Fiji's dictatorship regime.

Coupfourpointfive has picked a few examples of Bainimarama's lies:

1. Bainimarama's claim that the Public Emergency Regulations is a temporary measure is a lie. The PER has been in force for three and a half months. Two weeks ago he told Radio Fiji that the regime intended to impose the PER for the rest of the year.

2. His claim that the PER is contributing towards a stable socio-political platform is also a horrendous lie. It is causing increasing levels of disquiet and disenchantment amongst ordinary citizens who are denied access to basic information about economy, the sugar industry, tourism, increasing levels of unemployment, rising poverty, increasing inflation, deteriorating infrastructure like water, roads and sewerage. By denying political parties and trade unions an opportunity to air grievances facing the people through the media, the regime in suppressing the truth is only hiding the rot that is spreading like cancer in the economy and its support services.

3. Bainimarama must be thinking the people of Fiji live in dreamland by saying the regime believes in media freedom and democracy. Apart from imposing absolute censorship, the regime, between February 2008 and January 2009, has deported three expatriate publishers - one from Fiji Sun and two from Fiji Times for being courageous in exposing scams and scandals. The exposure of the $2 million secret stash of Mahendra Chaudhry and deportation of two publishers over this is a perfect example.

4. His statement that the regime must support interests of media owners and journalists to make them more capable and responsible is a downright lie. What Bainimarama should have stated is that the regime is supporting those who are loyal and faithful to his dictatorship regime.

Communications Fiji Ltd (owners of radio stations Legend FM, FM 96, Navtarang, Sargam & Viti FM) news director Vijay Narayan and Fiji Sun publisher Peter Lomas are perfect examples media owners and journalists who are pro-regime. Narayan has a consistent track record of obtaining exclusive interviews with Bainimarama who always refers to him by calling his first name, Vijay.

In a special Fiji Television program on the Forum Island Leaders Meeting of October 2007 held in Tonga, television footage aired during the program showed both Bainimarama walking with Narayan intimately with his arm flung over Narayan's shoulder like both were best buddies. The standard of Fiji Sun severely declined even before the imposition of PER as soon as Peter Lomas became the new publisher.

He chose to print a story about tourists on the front page of its 11th April issue instead of the abrogation of the Constitution a day earlier (see right side of blog for the article). In the editorial of that edition written by Lomas or under his directive, the newspaper preached that the regime and the New Legal Order was the reality and we should not be worried about suspension or expulsion by the Forum and Commonwealth.

The regime is supporting Fiji Sun by placing civil service advertisements or statements from the interim ministers in the newspaper.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Ro Teimumu taken to military barracks

The High Chief of Rewa Ro Teimumu Kepa has been taken in for questioning by the military, to their headquarters at Queen Elizabeth Barracks.

Under the Public Emergency Regulations, the police have the power to detain and question people, but not the military.

She was taken in at around 6pm after being released temporarily.

The High Chief was detained Tuesday night and kept in a cell at Central Police Station in Suva all night until late this afternoon.

Coupfourpointfive has been told that Ro Teimumu was not allowed any food or water while she was detained.

Methodist Church General Secretary Reverend Tuilkilakila Waqairatu, the Secretary for Pastoral Ministry, Tomasi Kanailagi and former church president Manasa Lasaro are also still detained at Queen Elizabeth Barracks.

Who is Ro Teimumu Kepa?

Ro Teimumu Kepa was the third highest ranking cabinet minister in the two governments of SDL leader Laisenia Qarase.

She was the Minister for Education in the SDL-Consertative Alliance coalition government between September 2001 and March 2006. Ro Teimumu retained her position in the Qarase led SDL-Labour multiparty government after the May 2006 elections until it was ousted from power by Frank Bainimarama and the army on December 5 2006.

During her time as Education Minister, the Education Ministry achieved the record of being allocated the most funds from the annual national budgets. In 2006 her ministry got $333 million but this was slashed by Fiji Labour Party leader and interim Finance Minister Mahendra Chaudhry in March 2007.

Ro Teimumu is the younger sister of Adi Ro Lady Lala Mara. She succeeded her as Roko Tui Dreketi following Adi Lady Lala's death in July 2004.

The children of Adi Lady and Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara are her nephews and nieces. Some of them who are closely connected to the interim regime are the Commanding Officer of the army's 3rd Infantry Regiment (3FIR) Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba Mara; Adi Koila Mara Nailatikau, the wife of Vice-President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau; Adi Ateca Mara Ganilau, the wife of interim Defence Minister Ratu Epeli Ganilau; and Adi Elenoa Mara, wife of Fiji National Provident Fund chief executive Aisake Taito.

Burebasaga is one of the three confedracies of Fiji. The other two are Tovata - headed by Tui Cakau Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu and Kubuna - headed by Vunivalu of Bau. The title of Vunivalu has been vacant since the death of the last holder Ratu Sir George Cakobau almost 20 years ago in November 1989.

Ro Teimumu's letter to congregation

It was the insistence of Marama Roko Tui Dreketi Ro Teimumu Kepa that the Methodist Church annual conference must be held that led to her arrest and detention by the Esala Teleni led Fiji Police Force.

The chiefly village of Lomanikoro and the province of Rewa fall under the Burebasaga confedracy, which Ro Teimumu heads, and was selected as hosts for the annual conference scheduled for next month.

Last Friday, despite dictatorship regime's interim prime minister and army commander Frank Baimnimarama's final decision that there would be no conference because the Chuch was politicised by former leaders, like Reverends Manasa Lasaro and Tomasi Kanailagi, the Standing Committee met and confirmed the conference would go ahead, with or without the permission of the regime.

Two weeks ago, Ro Teimimu and a high profile delegation of Rewa, met at the Centenary Church and decided the conference would proced. This was relayed to the Church leadership.

A United States based Fijian social networking site, Matavuvale.com, has published contents of the letter written by Ro Teimumu on official letterhead of the Methodist Church.

The letter appears to have been written in the last two days because it refers to a visit paid to her by the Church on the afternoon of Sunday the 19th of July, following which she says the province will host the conference (Bose Ko Viti) from Sunday 30th of August to Friday 4th September.

The letter was signed by Ro Teimumu and speaks of how Fijians converted from Heathenism to Christianity following the visit by Reverend William Cross to Roko Tui Dreketi in 1838.

Ro Teimumu writes that it is the God's plan for the Bose Ko Viti to be hosted by Lomanikoro. She asks her people to use whatever meagre resources they have to ensure the conference is a success and pleads with them to be law abiding and peaceful saying the special circumstances "we face will severely test our commitment to our undertaking and faith to God".

Roko Tui Dreketi released

Marama Roko Tui Dreketi Ro Teimumu Kepa has been released from police custody.

She was taken to Central Police Station by 16 soldiers, not police officers, from her home in Lomanikoro, Rewa at midnight last night.

Sources say she was taken to the Criminal Investigation Department for questioning. Feizal Haniff from Munro Leys was representing her. Sources say Ro Teimumu is currently resting at a home in Suva and has been asked to return to the CID HQ in Toorak for another round of questioning this evening.

The interim prime minister and army commander, Frank Bainimarama, told Radio Legend FM that Ro Teimumu was not arrested and detained but she was questioned. This is despite the fact she spent close to 10 hours inside a police cell at CPS.

We can confirm the general secretary of Methodist Church Reverend, Tuikilakila Waqairatu, and former Church leaders, Reverends Manasa Lasaro and Tomasi Kanailagi, are still being detained at the army's HQ - Queen Elizabeth Barracks in Navua.

SDL national director, Peceli Kinivuwai, has also reportedly been taken into military custody.

Ro Teimumu Kepa detained

We have received confirmation that the High Chief of Rewa, Ro Teimumu Kepa is in police custody.

She was taken in around midnight last night.

Yesterday 7 church ministers were taken in for questioning and there's been no word on their release.

The General Secretary of the Church was one of those detained and sources say he was taken up to the military barracks last night.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Dictator speaks at AIBD Conference

Interim prime minister and military commander Frank Bainimarama says the Public Emergency Regulations imposed in Fiji is a temporary measure.

He made the comments at the Asia Institute for Broadcast Development conference in Nadi today, which was attended by over a hundred delegates.

The AIBD went ahead and stuck to Fiji as its conference venue despite the imposition of Public Emergency Regulations and absolute media censorship by the regime following the abrogation of the Constitution on 10th April.

Permanent Secretary for Information and military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Neumi Leweni is a Vice-President of AIBD.

Bainimarama claims the PER seeks to provide a "stable socio-political platform that is conducive for national building initiatives to take place".

He said the key message for the media is to be "more balanced and responsible with their reporting".

During his speech today Bainimarama also claimed the PER is working in what he called a shift from "journalism of old to journalism of hope".

He claimed the regime believed in media freedom and freedom of expression saying these are fundamental principles of "true democracy".

Bainimarama said for the media to become an inspiration for growth, progress and development, the regime needed media personnel "who are capable and responsible" adding that for this to happen the regime "must champion the interests of both the media owners and journalists".

Four Methodist church ministers arrested

The Fiji Democracy Movement says they've been informed by their sources that the General Secretary of the Methodist Church, the Reverend Tuikilakila Waqairatu was arrested by police yesterday.

FDM says he was arrested after he wrote a letter to Frank Bainimarama and Police Commssioner Teleni warning of possible bloodshed should the Military not allow the annual Methodist Church Conference to go ahead next month.

Sources have told Coupfourpointfive that three more ministers were taken in for questioning this morning.

Methodist Church conference to go ahead

The annual Methodist Church conference is going ahead despite the dictatorship regime's opposition to the gathering of members of the country's largest religious organisation.

This was decided by the Standing Committee of the Methodist Church, which met last Friday and refused to comply with the conditions in a permit issued by the regime.

This means the conference will go ahead in Rewa with the chiefly village of Lomanikoro being the main hosts.

Lomanikoro is the home of Marama Roko Tui Dreketi, Ro Teimumu Kepa, who is also the Head of Burebasaga confederacy.

Sources have told us that last weekend a few media outlets were prevented from broadcasting and publishing the fact that the conference will be held next month, when the regime's censors directed that the story be pulled out.

The conference will be held in the middle of August and sources say Lomanikoro has been preparing for a long time to host delegates and other members in terms of meeting facilities, providing accommodation in nearby surrounding villages, transportation and organisation of other activities normally associated with the conference.

The regime's dictator, interim prime minister and army commander Frank Bainimarama has publicly stated that the Church will not be allowed to hold its conference this year.

He also cast doubts as to the holding of the conference in 2010 saying the Church must remove political elements from the Church hierarchy.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Media group urges investigation into suspension on NZ Fiji broadcaster

The regional media watchdog, the Pacific Freedom Forum, is encouraging the management trust behind NZ’s Pacific Islands radio station Niu FM 531pi to launch an independent investigation into the June suspension – and then reinstatement, of Fiji broadcaster Bulou Amalaini Ligalevu.

Ligalevu has presented the Fiji-language program, Voqa kei Viti, since 1980. She was suspended after angry emails were received in the wake of a 20-minute interview with visiting human rights activist Akuila Yabaki. While wider responses to the program were positive, three complaints had been received but Ligalevu was initially refused the right to see them.

Niu FM 531pi is a Pacific Radio network covering NZ’s Pacific communities and receives funding from a mix of public and commercial revenues. (Editors note: The FM station, NiuFM, has received more than 20 million dollars from Government since it was established).

The unexplained absence of Ligalevu from the airwaves during her usual Fiji-language stint on weekends only came to light after a student journalist at Auckland University of Technology’s Pacific Media Centre picked up on her suspension and reported it.

“What is disturbing and sad is that the situation has revealed that Niu FM 531pi chose to send home one of their most media professionals, on a whim. It has raised questions of judgment and professionalism on the part of management which Ms Ligalevu, Niu FM 531pi listeners and NZ taxpayers deserve to see addressed,” says PFF co-chair Susuve Laumaea of Papua New Guinea.

“While management have reinstated Ligalevu, the demoralizing lack of support and procedural fairness which led to her suspension merits an independent investigation into how the station handles complaints from listeners; along with an open apology from management to Ligalevu and her listeners, at the unfair situation they placed her in,” says Laumaea.

“It’s sad to see that even in New Zealand, where a tried and tested national Broadcasting Tribunal and Standards Authority is in place to deal with listener complaints in a transparent way, the flagship PI station failed to recognise its own leading role.," says PFF co-chair Monica Miller, of American Samoa.

"Fijians and the Pacific Community in New Zealand are starved for quality, indigenous analysis from well-known commentators like Akuila Yabaki. Ligalevu and Niu FM 531pi should be congratulated for a deeper and broader analysis lifting the standard of NZ media coverage so far.”

“For a radio station claiming to serve the Pacific community and be a bridge on Pacific current affairs to the rest of New Zealand, it’s especially important that the work of Fiji journalists such as Ligalevu in bringing quality debates on Fiji into the public domain, must be recognized,” she says.