#header-inner img {margin: 0 auto !important; #header-inner {text-align: Center ;} Fiji Coupfourpointfive: Accused plotters acquitted on one charge

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Accused plotters acquitted on one charge

A High Court judge in Suva has acquitted the eight men accused of conspiring to kill the interim attorney general of Fiji, Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum and the former finance minister, Mahendra Chaudry, but not of the charge conspiracy to kill the interim prime minister, Frank Bainimarama.

Today's decision by Justice Paul Madigan came with the announcement that he was unable to find any evidence the men had conspired to kill Sayed-Khaiyum and Chaudry.

Justice Madigan cited evidence from a state witness, who said the names of the men were not mentioned during the initial meeting where the assassination plot was discussed.

The state witness, Lance Coporal Peniasi Kuli, said the men were only mentioned once in a subsequent meeting.

The eight accused inlcude the provincial chief Inoke Takiveikata, known as the Qaranivalu of Naitasiri which is north of Suva, and the former head of the Fiji Intelligence Service, Metuisila Mua who was part of the 2000 George Speight coup which was mounted by members of Fiji’s special forces, Counter Revolutionary Warfare (CRW) unit.

Former CRW soldiers Feoko Gadekibua, Barbados Mills, Sivaniolo Naulago, Eparama Waqatirewa and Kaminilei Vosavere are also before Justice Madigan.

The men were arrested in November 2007, along with a Fiji born New Zealand businessman, Ballu Khan who was severely beaten while in police custody.

The High Court eventually struck out the charges against Khan who now lives in Auckland.

It's alleged the plot to kill Bainimarama was to have taken place in March 2007 but it was foiled after the operation was infiltrated by Major Isireli Narawa and Lance Corporal Peniasi Kuli of Fiji Military Intelligence.

Narawa said he was told by Ratu Takiveikata that money was sent to New Zealand to purchase the arms and weapons and that he had the backing of the Vanua or indigenous people.

Lance Corporal Peniasi Kuli of Fiji Military Intelligence said they heard rumours of the plot and decided to join in it to see what was happening.