Friday, January 11, 2008

QC believes Khan was set up

10-Jan-2008 12:24 PM

NEW ZEALAND businessman, Ballu Khan who is accused of taking part in a plan to kill Fiji’s interim Prime Minister and others is the victim of a plot from his business rivals, his lawyer said.

Lawyer, Peter Williams QC told NZ National Radio that his client Ballu Khan had been targeted by authorities in Fiji for some time.

Khan, who was formally charged and granted bail on Tuesday night, was one of 17 suspects arrested in November last year in connection to the alleged plot.

He was the 11th person to be charged with three counts of conspiracy to murder in relation to the allegations.

“He commenced a business here and he had rivals and we believe that they had influenced in the military,” Williams told NZ National Radio.

“The military has been discriminating against him for some time, long before this.

“As you know we have a military government here so it is a complicated thing, but there is no doubt there has been malice against him for some time and I think that has come to fruition in these charges.”

Khan was a controversial figure in Fiji business circles after his company formed a joint venture called Pacific Connex, which won a $US9.2 million (FJ$14.5 million) contract to supply computers to the Native Land Trust Board in 2004.

An audit report by KPMG Australia alleged the Board failed to conduct a proper investigation before buying the computer system. Prosecutors on Tuesday night claimed
Khan was the main financier and instigator of the plot to murder Commodore Frank Bainimarama, Finance Minister Mahendra Chaudhry and Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

Khan was badly beaten during his November 3 arrest and has been under police guard in hospital until Tuesday, when he left the facility in dramatic fashion.

As he tried to leave there was a confrontation between Khan’s legal team and police, who tried to prevent him from returning to his home.

“He was under very close guard and of course the guards were scurrying around. We had a couple of vehicles outside which we got into and the police - one of them - got in front of the vehicle.

“It was a little bit sort of exciting I suppose and off we drove with police sirens and so forth and we took him home,” Williams said.

Khan was later taken into police custody after a stand-off at his Suva home.

After he was granted bail Khan said he was happy to be back in the sun but would still need plenty of rest.

Khan has a lawsuit filed against the Fiji Government seeking damages of up to $F40 million for his treatment.

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