The Opposition office has called for Deputy DPP Peter Ridgeway’s contract to be renewed to allow him to complete the task he began in bringing to justice all those with complicity in the 2000 coup.
A Fiji Times report said Ridgeway, an Australian funded by AusAid, was leaving under pressure following his public criticism of the recent release of two chiefs who had been convicted for coup related activities, to serve their sentences extra-murally.
Opposition Leader Mahendra Chaudhry said the DPP’s office had so far done a commendable job in charging and prosecuting those who conspired to overthrow the People’s Coalition Government.
“But the task is not completed yet. Mr. Ridgeway must be retained to finish the job. At the same time, the DPP’s office needs to be further strengthened so that all those implicated in the terrorist events of 2000 are made to answer for their treasonous activities,” Mr. Chaudhry said.
“It is quite clear that a number of key figures who plotted and collaborated in the overthrow of a democratically elected government are still at large. A lot of work also needs to be done to investigate and charge all those who financed the coup.
It is imperative that the investigations are finalised, and the prosecution process completed, before the next general elections in 2006.
This process has already taken five years. It must be given due urgency now. Mr. Ridgeway is too integral a part of the proceedings to be allowed to walk away from it now.
“We can understand the frustrations experienced by the Police and the DPP’s office because of political interference with the judicial process. But they have the confidence of the people and must continue with the task entrusted to them.