Regime afraid a trial will reveal widespread fallout and corruption
Key evidence found at Padarath's house
The military regime is in a dilemma over whether or not to press charges against the staunch coup supporters and perpetrators who were conspiring to overthrow Frank Bainimarama, Aiyaz Khaiyum and their dictatorship administration.
The identification of several key personnel who were an integral part of Bainimarama's regime but who are trying to overthrow him and his side-kick Sayed Khaiyum, was revealed last week after the arrest of con man, Ben Padarath.
Note that we reported that Fiji Labour Party stalwarts Poseci Bune and Felix Anthony were taken in along with Padarath.
The former Attorney General in Mahendra Chaudhry's government, Anand Singh, was also caught in the sweep and we've since learned Singh was locked up for more than 10 hours late last week.
Top officers fingered
Significantly, though, the military's radar was also on Brigadier General Mohamed Aziz and former Land Force Commander, Brigadier Pita Driti.
Our military sources say certain documents were found pointing to a plot to overthrow the regime when military intelligence raided Padarath's home after his earlier arrest for links with lawyer Renee Lal and a Ghanian businessman.
The discovery led to intense grilling of Padarath and a brutal bashing where he received burns from hot water and three broken ribs. He was admitted to Colonial War Memorial Hospital where he remains a patient.
But military sources say Padarath basically spilled the beans in an effort to save himself and offered to be a State witness against those he is believed to have conspired with.
According to military sources, a list of names of whose who in the regime - as well as its staunch supporters like Bune and Anthony (both served the regime) Driti, Aziz and other senior military and police officers - was discovered in Padarath's Suva home.
President and lawyer implicated
Also found was a draft, three-page Decree with the name of Ratu Epeli Nailatikau as its supposed signatory, removing Bainimarama's regime, appointing a civilian administration and appointing a senior military officer as the new army commander.
Military sources say the Decree they found cited various reasons justifying the removal of Bainimarama's regime. According to the Decree, the following were the main causes of concern:
a) the regime's failure to follow former President Ratu Josefa Iloilo's plan of January 2007
b) excessive corruption including some details about Bainimarama and Aiyaz Khaiyum
c) economic deterioration and total lack of transparency and accountability.
Military sources have revealed Padarath told them the Decree was drafted by Suva based lawyer, Neel Shivam, who is extremely close to Aziz, and who has scored lots of legal work, thanks to the connection.
But despite what appears to evidence to charge, military sources say the regime has been advised to proceed with caution. It's been told not to press charges like conspiracy or attempted treason immediately, because the plotters were pillars of strength for Bainimarama's regime and pivotal in cementing its power.
Military sources say the regime has been advised that if the matter is brought before the Court, then the key piece of evidence against the conspirators will have to be the draft Decree. And if the contents of the draft Decree, plus the defence evidence of the conspirators is revealed, media exposure will embarass the regime.
The sources add that damage to Bainimarama and the regime will be severe because details about his and Aiyaz Khaiyum's corrupt activities - and the regime's misdeeds and failures - will come from former allies, who once held key and strategic positions, but are now conspirators.
The sources say it has been decided that investigations with key personnel like Aziz and Driti will proceed cautiously, and they will not be grilled as Padarath and Co have been.
The players: Dictator Bainimarama, Sayed Khaiyum, Mohammed Aziz, Piti Driti, Epeli Nailatikau (left), Ben Padarath (left) and Neel Shivam.