Army on “clean up” campaign

  • 14th December 2006
  • 2006
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Fiji’s military regime is doggedly continuing with its ‘clean up campaign’ amid threats of a backlash from supporters of the ousted SDL government.

Supporters of deposed prime minister Laisenia Qarase have threatened to kill army commander Frank Bainimarama and burn the village homes of soldiers as opposition to the military takeover begins to manifest itself.

There are also media reports that the ousted government wants to set up a defecto administration in the West.

But Bainimarama has warned that any attempt at insurgency or to set up a rebel government would meet with very strong resistance from the military.

He has also nipped in the bud attempts by Qarase to return to Suva after he was packed off to his village home in Mavana, Lau. The deposed PM has told the media he will still return even though he could face arrest on arrival in Suva.

Meanwhile, the army continues its task of running the country. In an attempt to clean up corruption and return the State to good governance, it has fired a number of top civil servants.

About a dozen top civil servants have been fired to date.

These include the ousted PM’s chief executive officer Jioji Kotobalavu, CEO of the Public Service Association Anare Jale even though Jale had agreed to work with the military regime, and PSC chairman Stuart Huggett.

The army chief said Huggett, an architect, would be investigated for trying to gain for his firm a $40,000 government contract for designs for the new Suva prison complex.

Others sacked are: Supervisor of Elections Semesi Karavaki, Solicitor General Nainendra Nand, Secretary General to Parliament Mary Chapman, CEOs for Fijian Affairs Board Adi Litia Qionibaravi, for Ministry of National Reconciliation Apisalome Tudreu, and Finance CEO Paula Uluineceva, Qarase’s two private secretaries Sekiasi Ditoka and Peni Nonu and his legal officer Ilaitia Tamata,

CEO of Airports Fiji Ltd Ratu Sakiusa Tuiloa has reportedly been sacked by the army although AFL maintains he is still CEO.

Meanwhile, the army is scrutinising 300 applicants received for ministerial positions in the interim administration. Sakiusa Rabuka has been appointed Solicitor General and a former Police Assistant Commissioner Crime Romanu Tikotikoca has been appointed Police Commissioner to take over from acting Commissioner Jimi Koroi. Romanu who is in the Solomons has not said if he will accept the post.

Meanwhile, a meeting of the Council of Chiefs is scheduled to be held in Suva mid next week. The army chief had previously said the meeting would be asked to re-appoint Ratu Josefa Iloili as President.

Vice President Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi was removed from office by the army after he influenced the President into declaring illegal the army’s removal of Qarase as prime minister.