Deputy Speaker charged with sedition

  • 22nd March 2003
  • 2003
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Deputy Speaker, Ratu Rakuita Vakalalabure has been charged with involvement in the 19 May 2000 coup and released on a $10,000 bail.

Vakalalabure who was sworn in as attorney general in Speight’s unlawful government a day after the coup, faces two charges of taking an illegal oath and participating in seditious activities.

He had to surrender his passport to the Court and appears again on April 11 for a preliminary inquiry.

There is widespread speculation that more arrests are likely now that police commissioner Isikia Savua has left and cannot interfere with investigations.

Two co-conspirators of coup-maker George Speight, Josefa Nata and Timoci Silatolu have been pronounced guilty of treason and will be sentenced by the High Court on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, there appears to be growing controversy between army Commander Frank Bainimarama and the government on pressure being applied on him to go “soft” on those implicated in the coup.

A media report claims the President Ratu Josefa Iloilo signed a directive that the army drop all investigations against people involved in the 2000 coup and the army mutiny in November that year.

It is understood the army commander is standing firm that all those implicated must be brought to justice.

Attempts by the government to remove Bainimarama and give him a diplomatic posting overseas does not appear to have succeeded.

Bainimarama whose term as army chief is due to expire soon says he will not leave until all major players in the coup and the mutiny have been dealt with by the law.