|Chaudhry denying coup involvement|
In an email titled 'Reply to Victor Lal crap,' the FLP says there is no truth to the claim Mahendra Chaudhry prepared a 40-page report against SDL and PM Laisenia Qarase for Bainimarama to overthrow the SDL-FLP multi-party government.
We have printed the statement unedited:
Lal is known for being a Chaudhry-basher. He carries a chip on his shoulder because some time back he had rendered political advice which had been ignored. He is known as a cut and paste ‘journalist’ who takes up things from here and there and paints a distorted picture."
In this instance, Lal bases his claims on some “Military Council documents” but provides absolutely no evidence of any such document and certainly nothing that links Mr Chaudhry to the 2006 coup – no shred of evidence to back his claim.
Secondly, his article is an outrageous pack of lies, sheer mischief making timed, no doubt, to sow discord between Mr Chaudhry and Mr Qarase.
LIE 1: No 40-page document. Lal claims Mr Chaudhry prepared a 40-page document against Qarase for Bainimarama. He never prepared any such thing document.
LIE 2 : No pre-2006 coup meetings with Commodore Bainimarama. Mr Chaudhry never met with Bainimarama at the Opposition Office in Parliament as claimed or anywhere else for that matter. The claim that “the two were regular visitors to each other’s offices before the 2006 treasonous coup” – is preposterous and sheer concoction; a fabrication of Lal’s imagination. There were NO meetings with Bainimarama preceding the 2006 coup
LIE 3: He infers that the so-called 40-page report influenced the “wavering senior military officers” to support the coup. How can this be when there was no such document?
LIE 4: Let alone conspiring with Khaiyyum and Major Aziz to stage the 2006 coup as Lal claims, Mr Chaudhry did not even know them then. The first time he met these two was after he joined the interim administration.
LIE 5: “Chaudhry hastily joined the illegal regime as Finance Minister …” This is not true. He was offered the portfolio but hesitated. It will be remembered that the FLP had put out a media statement denouncing the extra constitutional takeover of power. At a specially convened meeting of the FLP National Council it was decided that the Party should participate with the purpose of pushing for an early return to democratic rule, within the Constitution. Mr Chaudhry was also pressured into accepting by certain prominent members of our business community who were anxious to have the economy put back on track.
LIE 6: Lal says Mr Chaudhry was “booted” out of the Cabinet as a result of his tax allegations. In fact, the inquiry set up by the Prime Minister on this very matter cleared Mr. Chaudhry of all allegations. But that would be too much for Victor Lal to swallow.
LIE 7: Mr Chaudhry was never offered the deputy prime ministership by Qarase. In fact, Qarase had stated quite explicitly that he would not prefer to have Chaudhry and Poseci Bune in his Cabinet.
The FLP’s differences with Mr. Qarase pre-2006 coup, are no secret. The FLP was extremely dissatisfied with the way the Prime Minister was running the country. Our strong opposition to his policies and actions are on record. We opposed the Qoliqoli Bill as being divisive, we opposed the PRTU Bill as merely an artifice to get George Speight and his co-conspirators released from jail.
As partners in the multi-party government, the FLP could not support these Bills and Mr Chaudhry conveyed this to Mr Qarase.
We were unhappy that he was not consulting with the FLP, its partner in the multi-party government, on key issues such as the Bills already mentioned, and in particular the hike in VAT to 15%. We were worried at the precarious state of government finances and the sharp decline in key export sectors.
But none of these make Mr Chaudhry a party to the 2006 coup – and neither Victor Lal nor other detractors can provide any shred of evidence to prove what is not true!