#header-inner img {margin: 0 auto !important; #header-inner {text-align: Center ;} Fiji Coupfourpointfive: 2011-08-14

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Methodist Church: We will not sell out to 'Evil Bainimarama'


Fiji's worst abuser of power ever might have taken on more than he realised by threatening to cancel the Methodist Church conference on Tuesday.

The country's biggest Church has resolved to stand its ground and to fight whatever evil and injustice, the immoral and greedy Bainimarama metes out.

Obviously worried at the thought of the Methodists coming together after four years of being held down by him, Bainimarama is trying to neuter the Church by making sure the President, Rev. Ame Tugaue, the General Secretary Rev. Tuikilakila Waqairatu, and the former President and Head of the Standing Committee, Rev. Manasa Lasaro don't attend.

He wants his stooges instead to preside over the Conference meeting. 

But Coupfourpointfive has it on good authority that the macawa commander will not find it so easy to nuke the Church. While he's ruled by his fear, the Church is ruled by its faith and its legal obligations to members.

"Our stand is that in line with our Constitution, it is the President who will preside over the conference and he is to be assisted  by the General Secretary.

"We are standing our ground and that is, that the church is the church of God. The conference will not be run by the junta; if he does that he will make it the Church of Bainimarama.

"It is the Church of Jesus Christ and we want to maintain it that way. If we are to bow down to him than we lose our vision. What else do you have if you lose your faith; when you sell your faith? If we sell that for something else, that's the end.

"We are supposed to the light. We are supposed to be standing up for the rights of the people because we are the Church."

Bainimarama has been losing sleep over the thought of the Methodists gathering. He tried to scare the church leaders with threats via band boy Neumi Leweni. He also restricted the conference to just 1000. This week he ordered key leaders to step down by Friday noon.

That deadline has now been extended to Monday. But the heathen leader has been unable to rest, sending harassing text messages from Koro Island, again threatening to cancel the meeting if Tugaue, Waqairatu and Lasaro attend.

The conference is scheduled to start on Tuesday morning in Suva and Coupfourpointfive has been told members intend to gather as planned. Going on past ugly behaviour, soldiers could turn up to turf members out or arrest them.

But information given to C4.5 shows the Church has resolve.

"The Methodist Church's stand will never change and they will not move back an inch but they will prove to Fiji and the international community that they will not bow down to the dictator. It is evident that Bainimarama is trying to demoralize the Church and to decide its destiny. According to the Church it's a war between righteous and evil, kingdom of darkness and the kingdom of light, body of Christ and the Military, Frank and God. 

"Frank Bainimarama is trying to manipulate the Church to bow down to Satan rather than the mighty God, our Lord, Savior and Master. It's the Church that will last and the calling to be Ambassador's of Christ will prevail come Monday. The Church is prepared to face persecutions and even death because our Lord suffered, too. It's the crown that awaits our faith in this life and it is enough to die for. 

"We  will never bow down to Frank Bainimarama. Not at all. Moreover, the Church has alerted its Ministers and its Congregation to hold prayer vigils until Monday. The Church also calls upon the public to join its effort to free Fiji from the snares of the Devil working through the evil dictatorship of Bainimarama.

"Bainimarama clearly shows his lack of spiritual mindset and the disrespect to the church by even communicating via TXT messages. 

"On the other hand it also shows the desperation and anxiousness about the Church's stand. Any simple man with minimal knowledge of an association such as the Methodist Church should know that there are processes, protocols and constitution to be followed and when it comes to the church, it is really particular about the proper procedures. 

"All ministers all across Fiji and Rotuma have been notified on the recent events and they are expecting the worst from the dictator on Monday. In any case, irrespective of the permission by the junta, the church conference WILL BE held."

As with other recent efforts this week to reclaim democracy, the Church's resolve is a significant development.

FICTU and FTUC call on news outlets to stand up for media fairness

JOURNOS AT WORK:In the hot seat.

More resistance today against the military dictatorship with the unions calling for media teams not to broadcast or publish if they can't provide balance.

The country's two major unions, FICTU and FTUC, have issued a joint statement denouncing the "misleading and controversial views of the regime being given prominence without fair balance."

In a statement, the two unions cite how the voice of worker's and trade unions have ffectively been shut down since 2009, thanks to the illegal regime. The regime has meanwhile been allowed to attack unions on a daily basis without them getting a right of reply or rebuttal.

FICTU and FTUC say some news outlets have given up trying to provide fair coverage with censorship goons in the newsroom "while others are effectively promoting propaganda."

The say the situation should not be allowed to continue "because the people have a right to be informed of the truth and to have their views publised in a fair and balanced way."

The joint statement is addressed to the editors and publishers of the Fiji Times, Fiji Sun, Fiji Broadcasting, Fiji One, Communications Fiji Ltd and Fiji Live. It's signed by Tevita Koroi for FICTU and Dan Urai for FTUC.

It's the latest initiative aimed at encouraging people to stand up for democracy in Fiji. In recent days, there have been calls for people to march at Sukuna Park or to show (in whatever way they can) the regime and fellow citizens that they will no longer tolerate an unelected government that rules via PER and refuses to hold elections.

In a move that can only be applauded, FICTU also earlier this week criticised the regime for revoking FTUC's permit to meet in Nadi.

Such efforts to work together for the common good can only help Fiji and must be encouraged and applauded.

Read the joint media statement

Roko Ului Mara: Be of Good Courage

The former leader of the 3FIR, Roko Ului Mara, has launched his own website. He obviously still wants to be in the mix despite being in Tonga, posting the following statement on his website two days ago.



18 August 2011

People of Fiji, all races and religion, I congratulate you all.

You have held your head high in the face of five years of oppression and repression by the military junta led by Bainimarama and Khaiyum.

You have shown courage while your legal rights and freedoms have been taken away from you.

You have shown faith while all around you, your custom, your tradition and your religion are being suppressed.

You have shown strength while your relatives or friends or family are seized without legal process, and are beaten or tortured by military hooligans.

You have shown fortitude while the ruling elite are getting richer from your taxes and you are getting poorer.

You have shown patience when a job, a regular wage and a future are being denied you.

You have shown tolerance in wave of high prices and poverty staring you in the face.

You have also turned the other cheek to injustice and tyranny, but you can now show peaceful resistance.

I am proud of you.

I have taken up the challenge and made it my duty to free you and liberate you from the bondage of Bainimarama, Khaiyum and their mafia of violent and corrupt terrorists.

I am deeply involved in campaigning in Australia and New Zealand where Democracy Movements have been set up in each country to lobby their governments.

I have visited Samoa and Tonga and held discussions with their Prime Ministers.

I will visit other Pacific Island Countries on your behalf, to carry the fight for the return of Democracy, the Rule of Law and Economic development to Fiji.

I also plan to visit the United Kingdom and the United States and to meet with officials of the United Nations, the European Union and Amnesty International.

This is all part of my plan to bring pressure to bear on the brutal and corrupt military junta, from regional and foreign countries, organizations and Fiji democracy Groups worldwide.

My heart is with you in your dilemma. I gather strength to fight your cause from you and your stories of hardship and suffering. I am convinced that you and I will win and that the illegal, corrupt and repressive military junta will fall.

I am doing what it is required to make this happen. What a blessed and glorious day that will be.

You may recall that thousands of years ago, the children of Israel were held in bondage in Egypt. God heard their cries for freedom and God liberated them! I believe he will also liberate us from this evil military junta led by Bainimarama and Khaiyum.

Fellow citizens, let me repeat, the battle to remove the military junta is being fought. I am in the thick of it and it has made Bainimarama uneasy.

We are in the right because we are working to free our people, the oppressed people of Fiji. We will win. Be strong. Be of good courage. Be filled with hope. My fight is your fight. My campaign is your campaign. We are making good progress. The end of the brutal and evil military junta is at hand.





Friday, August 19, 2011

Fiji pulls a fast one to get rugby playing soldier to World Cup

So Fiji can play ball when it wants to, eh...

While the dictatorship refuses to bend politically for the benefit of the country and allow elections and lift the PER, it can certainly move when it comes to the Rugby World Cup.


New Zealand's Foreign Affairs Minister, Murray McCully, has today announced that it has given former soldier, Leone Nakarawa, an exemption to enter the country as part of Fiji's rugby world squad.

So how was this miracle achieved? Well, McCully says the New Zealand Government has been advised that Nakarawa has been discharged from the RFMF.

"While we would normally take a little longer to provide an exemption or lift the sanction in respect of a person resigning from the military, in this case we agreed to act more quickly given the particular nature of the request," McCully said.

Clearly, the unelected government of Fiji and its military appointed 'decision makers' can deliver when it wants to.

The Fiji Rugby Union had asked New Zealand to ease its travel ban on members of the military regime so it could get Nakarawa into the  Rugby World Cup squad. New Zealand said it wouldn't.

But the Mosese Tikoitoga led FRU has got what it wants by it moving the goal posts, because it suits it. They've simply disposed of the barrier - Nakarawa's links to the military.

Yet when it comes to peoples rights, like media freedom and elections, the Bainimarama camp refuse to budge. 

Coupfourpointfive suspects the 'discharging' of Nakarawa is a temporary thing ony. What's the bet he will be 'readmitted' into the RFMF after next month's tournament?

Wake up McCully. What are you going to do when Bainimarama and co find a way to slip the ball past you in a bid to get themselves to the Cup?

Bainimarama gives Methodist Church leaders until noon today to step down

The scaredy cat illegal government of Frank Bainimarama is trying to force key leaders of the Methodist Church to step down before next week's expected 1000-strong conference.

Sources say Bainimarama has given the President of the Methodist Church, Reverend Ame Tugaue, and General Secretary, Reverend Tuikilakila Waqairatu, as well Reverend  Manasa Lasaro until noon today to step down.

They say the trio have been told not to attend the meeting and he wants an interim chair of his choice to preside over the conference.

Sources say Bainimarama has his own nominations for the Presidency and Secretary General.

They say the Church is firm in its resolve not to bow down to the dictator's request and intimidating tactics.

The military team have also requested the Methodist Church to endorse the People's Charter on the first day of the conference otherwise they will cancel the rest of the conference.

Coupfourpointfive last week revealed key Methodist Church leaders were being taken in and being spoken to by the military junta, worried they might be 'making trouble' at its conference.

Ministers were being grilled about the conference, its agenda and possible protests.

It was also urging the Methodist Church to 'promote unity and equality' with military spokesperson Colonel Neumi Leweni telling Fiji Village 'the RFMF has been reliably informed that there are elements within the church that have been planning to utilize the upcoming church conference to instigate instability.'

He said "the law will take its course if a member or delegate of the Methodist Church of Fiji conference engages in any unlawful activities".

Leweni said the church Secretary has been told the meeting will be cancelled if members deviate from the original agenda.

It looks like the military dictatorship is extremely rattled by the thought of the Methodist Church, which along with the GCC, media and now unions, it has tried to crush so it can continue to run Fiji unelected, meeting next week for the first time since conferences were cancelled in 2007.

Save Fiji group answers some of its critics

FOCAL POINT: Sukuna Park.

The group calling for a march tomorrow at Sukuna Park is responding to some of the comments to the story Coupfourpointfive ran about its call to people to stand up and challenge the draconian decrees and corruption of the illegal regime.

It has released the following statement:

Plan strategy For 20th August 18, 2011

We begin with answering the basic question “who is the organizer and what is their intend? “people can’t support ghosts" – comment on C4.5

Answer: The organizer is the common man who is seen in the crowd but nobody knows his name; he is the faceless that suffer when the leaders sell the nation. He is the one who struggles to feed his family when millions are spent on trips and luxuries of the illegal regime. He is the one everyone forgets after elections. But he is the man who finds courage when everyone fails to stand up and say enough is enough. He has the courage to stand next to another common man and identify a leader to lead and demand that the change happens in Fiji. Yes, we are the common men who will come to Suva on 20th and demand the return of our democracy and for Fiji to be free. We are all ordinary people of Fiji who will free Fiji – if we can’t, than no matter how much international community puts sanctions on Fiji – this regime will not go but the people will go on suffering.

Somebody made this comment: I can’t follow and believe in a “ghost to lead the march” on C4.5 – We say to you all, you believe in God – but you have never seen him but you still have faith in him, you pray and believe in the holy spirit. So believe, my friend, that the ordinary man must rise and free Fiji.

People who are afraid of the police and army – here is their  strength if they are deployed in Suva on August 20th:

1. Police and Army Anti riots units – 4 units (60 men team) = 240 men. 40% of these are women who have been training in the camp for this week from RAU and 3FIR. Most of the police tear gas and grenades have expired and not useable. Also, there is not enough protective gear for the police riots units - gear can only cover 150 personnel.

2. Police strength in Suva – 1000 officers – all can’t be deployed in city – who will look after other areas? Police don’t have standard equipments so they are basically unarmed and can be overpowered.

3. Army to be deployed – estimated 500 soldiers


Are the 500 army officers, if deployed, armed with M16?

1. There is a big split in the army and the commander can't trust his own soldiers so weapons will not be issued. With the current situation the camp keeps ammunition and guns at separate locations under different commanders to avoid mutiny.

2. They can't deploy the green in Suva to fire on people as we invite the international media and people to come with cameras : the whole world will be watching.

3. We say to the soldiers come with your weapons - that’s good – because we know 90% of you will switch sides and support democracy and we can use those guns to counter Frank's bodyguards.


You don’t have to start your campaign in the Sukuna Park – come to the city – bus stand, shopping arcades – mix with the common man and use the Hibiscus as the cover. Just stand up and declare that you support democracy and people’s power will rise. Sukuna park is where the masses are to meet and demand democracy.

Save Fiji Movement

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Acclaimed academic forced out of Fiji's USP

Renowned academic Professor Wadan Narsey, who lectured at University of the South Pacific for 30 years, has been forced to resign from his post. 

This is despite the USP announcing on Wednesday that Professor Narsey ended his employment at USP by mutual agreement. His resignation took effect immediately, on Wednesday. Sources say Professor Narsey's forced resignation is a direct attack on academic freedom in USP.

Professor Narsey acquired regional acclaim because of his work and principles. He is currently on a Sabbatical in Japan until November.

Sources have established that USP's Vice-Chancellor, Rajesh Chandra, did not stand up for Professor Narsey and followed a directive from the military regime's Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum to get rid of him following a series of opinions criticising the regime and its policies. 

Chandra did not defend academic freedom but told Professor Narsey to stop attacking the regime and its policies, sources say. This is despite the fact that Professor Narsey always based his opinion on facts and statistics, and offered alternatives.

On December 16, 2010, we reported that an academic's contract was not going to be renewed because he was exercising academic freedom and writing factual opinions; in other words providing an alternative to the heavily censored media dishing out regime's version of garbled truth while suppressing true information and problems that the country was facing. 

Our  readers correctly established that the academic in question was Professor Narsey. But early this year, he was given a three year contract after appealing his case through USP's procedures.

Our sources have established that Aiyaz Khaiyum and the regime, while powerless to do anything or directly interfere in a regional institution, found another way to flex their corrupt muscles. Fiji is the biggest financier of USP out of the member regional countries and Khaiyum together with dictator Frank Bainimarama decided to use the tactic of delaying release of money to get back at Professor Narsey through their puppet Vice Chancellor Rajesh Chandra.

This year USP's allocation from Fiji was $36 million, according to the 2011 Budget. We have established that the regime has withheld $24 million and has decided to only release the money after Professor Narsey's removal. 
Rajesh Chandra used this reason to put pressure on Professor Narsey, and ignore the fact that the delay in release of money to USP was not because of Professor Narsey but that the regime is scraping the bottom of the barrel and is borrowing beyond its means to survive - as pointed out by Professor Narsey.

It was therefore only a matter of time before Rajesh Chandra, a long-time friend of Professor Narsey, deserted his colleague and trashed academic freedom to secure his own status with Khaiyum and Bainimarama.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Tomorrow: What Rajesh Chandra and the regime wanted Professor Narsey to do to save his job.

FICTU questions regime's move over FTUC permit

The Fiji Islands Council of Trade Unions has accused the regime of double standards after it revoked FTUC's permit to hold a meeting to discuss the recent decrees.

Both FICTU and FTUC jointly articulated the union movement's position to the ILO delegation last week and argued strongly that the decrees need to be withdrawn as they were targeted to wipe out unions altogether.

"The recent Essential Industries Decree, the exclusion of public sector workers and their unions from the ERP coverage and the removal of check off are all very serious measures that need discussions which cannot be held without a meeting of the executives of any organisation. FTUC was trying to do just that, no more. Where was the need to revoke their permit for such an important meeting? Surely it would be in the regimes interest to ensure that everyone understood the decree," FICTU general secretary Attar Singh said.

Singh said FTUC had applied for the permit in good time yet the letter revoking the permit was hand delivered on the day of the meeting at the venue.

"This leaves no one in doubt about the regimes real intentions. It was not only preventing a meeting but also wanting to cause as much harm and inconvenience as possible to the FTUC, individual executives and the affiliated unions knowing that money would have been spent on making the meeting arrangements, travel and other costs," Attar Singh said.

He said yet the regime allowed the Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation to have their meeting on the Friday to discuss the same decrees with their lawyers.

"They were obviously given a permit, or were they?"
Singh said FICTU also understands that the Boards and Committees of commercial company's meet regularly without permits even for their executive meetings.

"Why such double standards one may ask. FICTU calls on the regime to allow all unions to hold their meetings freely. There can be no justifiable reason to prevent unions from meeting to discuss routine matters or measures initiated by the regime itself," Singh said.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Can Fiji step up to the challenge?

With the huge international support Fiji has enjoyed in the past week,  it is not unreasonable to ask: Where to Now?

It is not a new question but it is one that has fresh urgency because of the interest and support shown Fiji this past week with the presence of the ILO in  Suva and affiliates worldwide publicly endorsing our beleagured trade unions.

The reality, though, is that it could be some time before the ILO decides it can spearhead a campaign to hurt the military dictatorship (although we say 'the sooner the better'); hopefully, the sort of hurt that will not only reign it in, but bring it down.

With the tantalising promise of global labour organisations ready to pitch in for Fiji, it is not unfair for those fighting the good fight to feel now is the time to march and to push for a response from the people. (see Sukuna Park flyer right).

Unfortunately, while we are quick to comment on blogs, few of us have the courage to take to the streets and march: Yes, because of the fear of being beaten and arrested but also because we fail to grasp that the issue of our rights is as crucial as the more prosaic issue of our daily survival and overcoming our fear.

Yet, if we are to succeed in removing the military dictatorship, we must give equal import to our core rights as people, our entitlement to dignity and basic justice. For in securing our rights as free people, we ultimately secure a safe and equitable future for our families. 
Freedom is not given, it is our birth right.

We need to work together to show unity and courage as never before and stand up to the thieves who have been 'governing' Fiji without mandate since 2006.

Last year, we put faith in the disillusioned members of the Military Council doing right. Before that New Zealand and Australia. Four months ago, it was he who defected from the senior ranks of the RFMF. We now nurse the same hope in the trade unions.

The Save Fiji Movement has again challenged us to stand up and are calling on people to march at Sukuna Park this Saturday (August 20). 

The Movement, which is based in Suva, is asking the people of Fiji to stand up for democracy saying “It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that they are difficult.”

On Facebook and blogs this week, the Group have posted messages like this: "People of Fiji, citizens and friends ... we challenge you to take up a stand against this illegal regime. We can provide the venue and time, but the challenge is on you to step forward and stand up as one, only than we will be free again. I can't do this alone and neither can my 50 colleagues .. we need you."
Save Fiji says: "Everyone asks, who is organizing such marches and we need a face. We say why do you look for a leader - look at your current leaders - they are all afraid and can’t support themselves - how can they defend our freedom.

"We ordinary people of Fiji just need to come to Sukuna Park and our strength will come from the person standing next to you - as we all are free men and we will die free men."

"Remember when an ordinary man stands - the whole nation trembles."

The Movement goes on to say: "So we challenge you ... are you ready to come and free Fiji on the 20th August 2011 and change the history of this nation and a lesson to the army that the people of Fiji say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH, and let it be a lesson to everyone that we no longer tolerates coups and decree.

The regime will not lift the PER. It will not hold elections. It will not restore media freedom. It will not back off from the decree to crush worker's rights.

Every second day, if not every day, everyone involved in the fight for democracy is revealing incriminating information about the corrupt, unelected leadership. But the question has to be asked "where do we go with it?"

The challenge has been issued for people to march. So what's stopping us?

1) Fear of being the only one who turns up
2) Fear of being beaten up (perhaps even tortured) by soldiers
3) Fear for repercussions on family

And what do we have to gain?
1) We empower ourselves
2) We unite ourselves as a people
3) We break the cycle of fear
4) We stand up to the regime
5) We show the international community we are serious about our fight for democracy
6) We mobilise to be ready for when labour movements worldwide take action
7) We serve as an example for our children

Coupfourpointfive puts this issue up for debate and welcomes constructive feedback.

Former FICAC prosecutor says he has proof of Fiji political interference

Liar and manipulator Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum has predictably today tried to dismiss Madhawa Tenakoon's story. 

But the former FICAC Sri Lankan lawyer says he has the evidence to prove everything he has said. 

See below for the latest.


Madhawa Tenakoon says when a democratic government returns to power in Fiji he will produce all the documentary proof he has kept from his time with FICAC. [Supplied]
By Bruce Hill
Pacific Beat

Madhawa Tenakoon says when a democratic government returns to power in Fiji he will produce all the documentary proof he has kept from his time with FICAC.

A Sri Lankan lawyer who's has spoken out about political interference in Fiji's judicial system says he has documentary proof of high level interference.

Radio Australia's Pacific Beat aired allegations made by Madhawa Tenakoon, who held a senior position with Fiji's Independent Commission Against Corruption but was dismissed by Fiji's military government.

Mr Tenakoon says the government interfered in prosecutions by directing the Commission to launch certain investigations, while also directing some cases be ignored.

Fiji's Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, says Mr Tenakoon was sacked for poor performance and suggests the former FICAC employee is trying to raise his profile in a bid to boost his career.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum also challenged Mr Tenakoon to produce some proof.

Mr Tenakoon told Pacific Beat when a democratic government returns to power in Fiji he will produce all the documentary proof he has kept from his time with FICAC.


Also see the blog, Intelligentsiya, for some of the original stories on the falling out between the Sri Lankan prosecutors and FICAC, including the one about the chief registrar Ganga Wakishta Arachchi (pictured with family here, the butt of many performance related complaints.

Bainimarama's brother-in-law scores new post

Francis Kean, the brother-in-law of Frank Bainimarama, has landed on his feet again.

Kean, who was charged with murder but convicted of manslaughter in 2007, has been today named as acting permanent secretary for the Ministry of Works, Public Transport and Public Utilities.

The announcement was made by the Public Service Commission chairman, Josefa Serulagilagi, who raved about Kean's skills. He said the naval commander had "leadership qualities and wide experience in the Republic of the Fiji Military Forces and the Civil Service."  

Nothing was said about Kean being charged with the murder of salesman, John Whippy, in 2006 at the wedding reception for Whippy's nephew Samuel, who had married Kean's niece, Ateca Bainimarama. John Whippy died after being kicked and punched by Kean, who controversially served a short time in prison for the crime.

Kean steps into the acting permanent secretary for the Ministry of Works, Transport and Public Utilities because Cama Tuiloma has been appointed Ambassador to the Federative Republic of Brazil.

Another soldier, RFMF Lieutenant Tiale Vuiyasawa, was also today named today as acting chief of protocol with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

Footnote: Talking about family moves, a source says the budget for the Director of Sports has been diverted to Frank Bainimarama's office. The source says the diversion was a special request from the illegal PM's Office for Ministry of Youth and Sports - to pay for his family's airfares to this month's South Pacific Games in New Caledonia. The Bainimarama clan all attended the Netball world club in Singapore recently at an estimated cost of $40,000 to the Fiji taxpayer.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Former FICAC staffer: Fiji regime interfered with prosecutions

MANIPULATED FICAC: Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum.

Emerging proof of what many have been saying for some time: that Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum pick and chooses who the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption prosecutes. The revelation has come from the inside, from one of the three Sri Lankan lawyers who 'left' Fiji recently. Mahadwa Tenakoon says the regime steered who the Commission went after and that people were prosecuted for political reasons. We say something more basic has been at play, too. Money. According to a source, Khaiyum's office recently approached a well-known Fiji lawyer with a deal for the early release of Motibhai's Mahendra Patel for $FJ200,000. Our source says the offer is "generally available" to those in Patel's position who can afford the early release fee. 

Read BRUCE HILL'S story below (Allegations of Fiji Government interference in prosecutions) detailing Tenakoon's revelations.

A former senior staffer with the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption says people in the country have been prosecuted for political reasons.

Madhawa Tenakoon held a senior position with FICAC but was dismissed by the military regime along with two other senior colleagues.

He alleges the government was directing the Commission to pursue investigations, when there was no basis for it to do so.

Mr Tenakoon says there's no rule of law and no democracy in Fiji while the military is running the legal system.

The Sri Lankan lawyer told Radio Australia's Pacific Beat he originally accepted the job of prosecutor because he was told he'd be taking on a pioneering role in the fight against corruption in Fiji.

He says after about six months in the job he realised there was government interference in pursuing some cases and ignoring others.

Fiji's Attorney General has rejected the claims.

Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says Mr Tenakoon was sacked for poor-performance.

The Attorney General says the United Nations is quite happy with the progress being made with Fiji's anti-corruption legislation.

Meanwhile, one of the people pursued by the Independent Commission Against Corruption, Imrana Jalal (pictured right), says she hopes to file a malicious prosecution case based on what Madhawa Tenakoon has alleged.


Tributes roll in for a great friend of Fiji, Sir Paul Reeves

UNIFYING FORCE: Sir Paul Reeves.

Sir Paul Reeves: Moderating political morasses in Fiji
By Professor Wadan Narsey

Editor's Note:These are the personal views of Professor Wadan Narsey, not those of his employer, The University of the South Pacific, where he works in the School of Economics

Sir Paul Reeves  (RIP) contributed enormously not just to his Maori community, but also to the wider pakeha community in New Zealand.  That remarkable ability to transcend the ethnic barriers within that country, also saw the international diplomatic community calling on him to help in resolving ethnically divided and strife torn communities in South Africa, Guyana and Fiji.

I write briefly on his service to Fiji, although more will be written by others who have a more intimate knowledge. To understand the difficult political challenges which Sir Paul faced and overcame, one needs to understand the debilitating century-old ethnic politics in Fiji, which eventually also undermined the work that Sir Paul Reeves did.

With Fijian led parties dominating government since independence in 1970, the first Indo-Fijian one (led by Jai Ram Reddy, Timoci Bavadra and Mahendra Chaudhry) was, within one month, deposed by the 1987 Rabuka coup.

The racially biased 1990 Constitution, ensuring perpetual indigenous Fijian control of Parliament) was established with the full support of all the indigenous Fijian institutions, including the Great Council of Chiefs and the Methodist Church.

Bridging the gaps
In the mid-nineties, Paul Reeves was made Chairman of the Commission of Inquiry into a new constitution for Fiji, to supersede the 1990 Constitution. The “Reeves Commission” also had one Fijian representative (Tom Vakatora) chosen by the Rabuka Government, and one Indo-Fijian representative (Dr Brij Lal from ANU), chosen by Jai Ram Reddy.

Tom Vakatora was an experienced civil servant and later Minister in various governments, as well as a Speaker of the House of Representatives in Parliament.  Dr Brij Lal was a historian prolifically documenting the history of Indo-Fijians since their arrival as indentured laborers in Fiji in 1879.

Sir Paul Reeves therefore had the unenviable task of balancing what appeared then to be irreconcilable points of view. Outsiders who had observed very strong Maori 
expressions of support for the Rabuka Government may have even thought that Paul Reeves, a Maori, might sway towards the indigenous Fijian points of view.

But what Sir Paul Reeves and his colleagues achieved was astonishing, in bringing together sharply opposing views into a consensus Report that was generally accepted and used as a basis for the 1997 Constitution,  passed by both Houses in Parliament.

While there were some important modifications by the 1998 Parliament (of which I was then a member), they in no way altered the real substance of the Reeves Report contributions to the 1997 Constitution.

That a consensus Report was written at all, was a credit to Sir Paul and the mutual rapport he had with Tom Vakatora  and Brij Lal, enabling all three Commissioners to come to a middle ground acceptable to the Fijian and Indo-Fijian parties, following widespread consultation with ordinary Fiji citizens through the length and breadth of Fiji.

That the Report was accepted in the House of Representatives was due to the enormous work done in building a historical partnership between Jai Ram Reddy (who took along NFP with him, despite the misgivings of many of his colleagues) and Sitiveni Rabuka (who took along SVT likewise, and is currently maligned by both Indo-Fijians and indigenous Fijians). This partnership gave hope to Sir Paul Reeves about the future of Fiji.

That the 1997 Constitution was passed by the Upper House was due to the leadership of Rabuka who overcame much opposition from the provinces who doubted the value of any power-sharing with Indo-Fijian leaders, but developed respect for Jai Ram Reddy who was the first Indo-Fijian leader to address the Great Council of Chiefs.

Small weaknesses
The only criticism I had of the Reeves Report (voiced in the Fiji Times of 1 and 2 November 1996, “The Reeves Report: sound principles but weak advice on the electoral system”) was that the Alternative Vote system, for all its benefits, was not suitable for Fiji.  I thought (in addition to other criticisms) that it would marginalise small parties, while strengthening the large extremist parties.  Sadly, these fears were all realized in the elections in 1999, 2001 and 2006.

Some quibbled about the lack of “one man one vote” but the Reeves Commission recommended an adequate blend of “Open” seats which were effectively “one man one vote” constituencies) and “Communal” seats (to reassure the major ethnic groups). The Fiji Parliament in the end decided on more Communal Seats but still left 25 Open seats (out of 71).  (The behavior of voters in these Open seats was no different from their behavior in the communal seats.)

It was quite spurious of the claim by 2006 coup supporters (such as the Fiji Labour Party in 2007), that the 1997 Constitution was racist because all the seats were not “one man one vote” (the same allegation continues to be made by Bainimarama today).

Even the Alternative Vote system was not a draw-back to sound parliamentary governance, as the 1998 Parliament had approved a power-sharing element which was not in the Reeves Report - a multi-Party provision which ensured that all parties with at least 10 percent of the seats, must be invited to join Cabinet.

Political one-upmanship
It was a tragedy (and probably a historical turning point for Fiji) that the Fiji Labour Party, having won the majority of seats in the 1999 elections, chose to exclude the Fijian SVT from Cabinet.

That decision undid all the good work that had been done by Paul Reeves and his Commission, and all the generous compromises that Rabuka and the Fijian politicians had made in accepting the 1997 Constitution, which ironically lost them control of Parliament.   

It was not surprising that most Fijian politicians felt a sense of betrayal over the 1997 Constitution.  The 2000 coup took place, with an inhuman prolonged hostage crisis suffered by Chaudhry and his colleagues.

Bainimarama ended the hostage crisis, but rather than reinstalling Chaudhry’s Government, appointed an interim Qarase Regime. The 2001 elections took place and was won by Qarase’s newly formed SDL Party.

The 1999 decision by the Fiji Labour Party to exclude the major Fijian party (SVT) was then reciprocated in a “tit-for-tat” measure by Qarase and SDL which offered FLP minor ministerial positions, understandably rejected by the FLP.

However, after the 2006 elections, Qarase and SDL offered good ministerial positions to the Fiji Labour Party which accepted them, but with their Leader (Chaudhry) choosing strangely to not just remain out of Cabinet, but also trying to become Leader of the Opposition.

It was this 9 month old multi-party SDL/FLP government, that was beginning to work reasonably well, which was deposed by the Bainimarama coup of December 2006 - not as claimed simplistically by coup supporters,  a “Qarase government”.

Soon after the 2006 Bainimarama coup, to the shock of international observers, Chaudhry and his Fiji Labour Party joined Bainimarama’s Military Regime, and thereby also obtained widespread support from the Indo-Fijian community and religious organisations.  But Chaudhry was sacked by Bainimarama after a year in unknown circumstances.

The other Military Regime Ministers and important post holders have been drawn from a Fijian  Party (National Alliance Party of Fiji), which won not a single seat in the 2006 elections (but which included former Military commanders) and very strangely, some leading supporters of both the 1987 and 2000 coups. (The story of who exactly from the army were involved in the 2000 coup, is only now slowly unravelling).

Sir Paul tried again
Ten years later, after the 2006 coup, Sir Paul Reeves was called upon, as a Special Representative of the Commonwealth Secretary General, to try to convince Bainimarama to return Fiji to democratic rule, even after the April 2009 abrogation of the Constitution. 

He failed, but not for want of trying, several times. 

Sir Paul Reeves’ apparent failure in Fiji will not in any way reflect badly on his efforts. Any current failure is more a sad reflection on the poor calibre of some politicians who have sacrificed the public good for personal interests at critical times in Fiji’s history.

That may also be said of the current set of Military Ministers who turned down the very moderate proposals by Sir Paul Reeves in 2009, in order to continue to rule Fiji by Military Decrees, a Public Emergency Decree renewed monthly (when there is not a hint of public emergency) and draconian Media Censorship.

The test of time
It will be an interesting test of time, to see whether the alleged abrogation of the 1997 Constitution by an army with the authority of guns, will last when the voters of Fiji eventually have the freedom to elect their own Parliament and decide which constitution they want, using the authority of their votes.

I suspect that the  1997 Constitution, which embodies the work of Sir Paul Reeves and his Constitution Commission colleagues, and the co-operative politicians of that era (Rabuka and Reddy), will one day rise like a Phoenix from the ashes, to vindicate the moderating work of a decent man, who has always seen beyond ethnic differences, to the common humanity of all.

FAREWELLED: Sir Paul Reeves.
The NFP Party and Brij Lal have also paid tribute to Reeves:

The National Federation Party is deeply saddened to learn of the untimely death of former New Zealand Governor-General Sir Paul Reeves. Sir Paul will be best remembered for chairing the Constitution Review Commission (CRC) from 1995 to 1997, which led to the formulation of the 1997 Constitution. The three-member CRC, famously known as the Reeves Commission, produced a comprehensive review report aptly titled “Towards a United Future”, and more than 90% of the recommendations were drafted into the 1997 Constitution. For his role Sir Paul was bestowed with the Companion of the Order of Fiji (CF) by the then President the late Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara. The 1997 Constitution, acclaimed internationally as one of the three best constitutions, was abrogated on 10th April, 2009 by the military backed regime.
The NFP, that played the leading role in the Constitution’s formulation through its then leader Jai Ram Reddy, had always found Sir Paul as an embodiment of wisdom who possessed a vast reservoir of goodwill.
Given prominent role in the review process and experience in resolving political differences through consensus building and dialogue, Sir Paul was appointed by the Commonwealth Secretary-General as his Special Representative to Fiji following the military coup in December 2006. But his efforts to find a peaceful and negotiated solution to the crisis was thwarted by the non-cooperative agenda of the regime.
But Sir Paul still believed that a solution to end Fiji’s prolonged crisis was achievable and that the provisions of the 1997 Constitution would still be significant in future following an end to the crisis. Those who genuinely believe in meaningful dialogue, politics of cooperation instead of confrontation, inclusiveness, democracy and constitutional governance are poorer for Sir Paul’s passing.
Pramod Rae
General Secretary

Dr Brij Lal: “Sir Paul Reeves was a very fine leader, compassionate, humane, of impeccable integrity, confident in himself to allow the discussion of divergent views in the  Commission. It was to his immense credit that coming in as Chair when he did, when the country was bitterly divided and floundering, he was able to win the respect and trust of all the major leaders. He kept the Commission on even keel. No matter what the provocation, he never lost his balance and perspective. To his last days, he was proud of his Fiji work. He wrote to me on 31 July, just a few weeks before he died, 'Our work in Fiji was among the most satisfying that I have done and some time it will have its day. We were a seemingly incongruous team but we did great things.' In his passing, Fiji has lost a truly great friend who had at heart the interests of the country and all its people.”

Uncaptioned pictures: From centre of page down are Jai Ram Reddy, Timoci Bavadra, Ratu Kamisese Mara, Sir Paul with Anglican colleagues, and Brij Lal.