A rebel soldier who turned State witness told the High Court yesterday that Police Commissioner Isikia Savua had known beforehand of the 19 May 2000 coup plot to overthrow the Chaudhry government.
CRW soldier Salesi Tuifagalele who had been closely involved in the planning and execution of the coup, said he was informed by George Speight that Indian business firms such as CJ Patel and Punjas were going to finance the coup.
Tuifagalele was testifying in the treason trial of former journalist Josefa Nata and politician Timoci Silatolu in Suva yesterday.
He also testified that Speight had told him not to worry should the coup fail because he had already spoken to Police Commissioner Isikia Savua and Commissioner of Prisons Aisea Taoka.
Strong allegations that Savua was involved in the coup, forced the post coup administration to suspend him in 2001 while a commission of inquiry headed by Chief Justice Sir Timoci Tuivaga investigated allegations against Savua.
The Tuivaga hearing cleared Savua of all allegations but the inquiry lack credibility because it was held behind closed doors and the findings of the inquiry were never made public. The whole inquiry has been condemned as a whitewash.
Sir Timoci’s own credibility is on the line after he, and two other fellow judges, allegedly gave advice to the military on the abrogation of the 1997 constitution.
Savua resigned from the Police force in December to take up a diplomatic posting in New York as Fiji’s Ambassador to the United Nations. Prime Minister Qarase has been known to reward well-known personalities linked to the coup with diplomatic postings. Inoke Kubuabola, Col. Konrote and Adi Samanunu Cakobau are cases in point. Attempts to send Ratu Tua’akitau to London was reportedly rejected by the British High Commission.
Savua’s name has cropped up a number of times in the court martial of rebel soldiers as being closely connected with the coup.
How the United Nations can accept his credentials, despite several letters of protest, at a time when it is waging a world-wide campaign against terrorists is unbelievable.