Guilty chief faces sentencing tomorrow
March 02, 2011 02:30:18 PM
The sentencing of Naitasiri Chief Ratu Inoke Takiveikata has been adjourned to tomorrow after he was found guilty of inciting the attempted mutiny at the Queen Elizabeth Barracks in 2000 by Judge Daniel Goundar this afternoon.
Enough retribution was provided earlier this morning as four of the five assessors in the High Court case found Ratu Inoke guilty.
The fifth assessor however, pleaded for a more lenient sentencing.
The pending decision of sentencing was adjourned to tomorrow morning due to the fact that the defense could confirm and detail a report of the Ratu Inoke’s former conviction prior to 2000.
With no objections, the Court will resume tomorrow at 9:30am where Judge Goundar is expected to give Ratu Inoke Takiveikata’s sentencing.
Ratu Inoke is charged with one count of inciting mutiny between August 6 and September 24 in 2000 where it is alleged that he knowingly incited Stevens and Bonafasio to unlawfully take over Queen Elizabeth Barracks (QEB).
By Ravai Vafo’ou
No one is above the law
Saturday, November 25, 2006
Many people were exposed as a result of investigations into the 2000 coup and the mutiny at Queen Elizabeth Barracks in November that year.
People such as George Speight, Timoci Silatolu, Josefa Nata, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu, Ratu Jope Seniloli, Ratu Josefa Dimuri, the Ratu mai Namalata Ratu Kolinio Tuirakiwaimaro, Captain Shane Stevens, Ratu Inoke Takiveikata and others have served their time in prison.
Some people, however, still live freely among us and some questions have remained on people's minds since 2000 as to why has it taken so long for police to lay charges.
That is not all and the investigation is hardly over.
The impasse and war of words between army commander Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama and the Government has extended to Police Commissioner Andrew Hughes.
That was after the unlawful removal of a container of ammunition by the army without the approval of police from the Suva wharf two weeks ago.
Commodore Bainimarama later called for the removal of Mr Hughes because police said the ammunition was not cleared and the document used by the army to clear it from the wharf was falsified.
In a press conference this week, Mr Hughes said there was a need to verify allegations and misinformation which needed to be cleared for the sake of good governance.
Mr Hughes said they needed to get to the bottom of things on the latest from the commander and senior officers in the military to clean-up the Government.
"The investors and potential tourists to Fiji want to know what their clean-up means.
"I have to find out what it means in the context of my broader responsibility for maintaining law and order in Fiji," said Mr Hughes.
He said people of Fiji had a right to know what "clean-up Government" meant and it was not fair to keep making threats and then disappear overseas.
Mr Hughes said everyone have to wait for more than a week while the commander attends his grand-daughter's christening in New Zealand, which is hardly fair.
Meanwhile, the police investigation into allegations against Commodore Bainimarama has taken 28 days with effect from October 24.
The allegations include:
- Disobedience of lawful order,
- Seditious contents of public statements by Voreqe Bainimarama,
- Unlawful removal of container of ammunition from the King's Wharf,
- Alleged plot to overthrow the Government by the commander,
- Unlawful obtaining of approval from the President, Ratu Josefa Iloilo, to abort the commission of inquiry against the commander, and
- Investigations into the death of Counter Revolutionary Warfare soldiers who were allegedly murdered at the QEB during the mutiny on November 2, 2000, and
- Alleged abuse of office by senior military officers in approving payments of LPOs beyond their authorised limits.
Assistant Commissioner of Crime Kevueli Bulamainaivalu said Commodore Bainimarama was supposed to be interviewed on Wednesday but he had left the country for NZ while the rest of the senior military officers were scheduled to be interviewed by Monday.
"It is important to note that the police have unsuccessfully tried to complete the investigations into the deaths of the CRW soldiers because of the difficulty faced by the instigators in securing the co-operation of the military," he said.
Mr Hughes said: "I also repeat a warning made a few weeks ago to the military, officers and troops in the military that they cannot commit unlawful acts and say I was only following orders.
"It does not wash with the CRW and will not wash now.
"Already there are five senior offices likely to face charges for committing unlawful acts in the past."
Mr Hughes said a vast majority of the service men and women in the RFMF were decent, honest and law-abiding honourable professionals.
"I do not want to see them step on the wrong side of the law; remember what happened to the CRW soldiers.
"Think of your families and I don't want to see costly mistakes happen," he said.
Mr Hughes said no one including the President could authorise anybody to commit an unlawful act.
"It is unlawful to do that and I plead to members of the RFMF to bear that in mind.
"The other thing I like to say is if there are plans out there to form an interim Government of some sort people need to be very aware of what happened after 2000 and the fate of those who committed an unlawful act.
"There were a number charged including former Vice-President Ratu Jope Seniloli. Mr Hughes warns that the same could happen again.
So he says if you have been approached and contemplating taking up a position in some interim government in Fiji, forget it.
It will not be in your interest and certainly not the country.
He said we have a newly elected democratic government and the people have voted it in.
"Remember the events of 1987 and 2000 and learn from it.
Mr Hughes said in 1987 it was widely speculated and indeed rightly so that there were people behind Mr Rabuka when he staged the coup.
"In 2000 there were people behind George Speight shadowy operating in the shadows manipulating and influencing rebels and we suspect the same applies here.
"There are individuals, groups and organisations behind this inciting and manipulating the commander and others to do what they are doing," he said.
Mr Hughes openly said the next phase was targeting these individuals and groups. In the interest of everyone in Fiji unlike what has happened in the past, these people will be dragged out of the sunlight for all to see, he said.
They will be interviewed in respect for their involvement.
"Tell everyone hiding in the shadows who were involved in the conspiracy to destabilise the Government that they need to think again because the investigation is getting closer to them," he said.
For the sake of good governance and transparency the public look up to the police force to allow justice to prevail.
At least, that way, we will still have some faith in our police force and the judiciary if not in the leaders who have failed us again and again despite our faith and trust in them.