Thursday, February 04, 2010

Aust ‘put up $1 bln assassination back-up’

The Fiji High Court today heard that the Australian government was willing to give $1 billion to kick-start the Fiji economy if plans to assassinate Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama went wrong and an uprising ensued.

During the trial of eight men charged with conspiracy to assassinate Bainimarama, Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and then Finance Minister Mahendra Chaudhry, State witness Major Isireli Narawa said he was assured by one of the eight, Ratu Inoke Takiveikata that the consulates of the United States, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom stationed in Fiji had granted him (Ratu Inoke) their support.

Answering questions from State lawyer David Toganivalu, Narawa said he first met Takiveikata in a Nadi hotel room on 24 October 2007 where he claims Takiveikata told him his group had the backing of the vanua (state), the Methodist church and international community in their campaign to overthrow the Bainimarama regime.

Narawa said Takiveikata also told him they had arranged for the purchase of weapons to be used in the assassination to be brought in from New Zealand.

Defense lawyer Akuila Naco questioned Narawa, the military’s Chief Staff Officer Intelligence, as to why he did not query about the types of weapons that would be purchased since the idea of infiltrating the community was to recover missing weapons from the 2000 coup.

“Because Kuli (army spy) had already given us in his reports the types of weapons they were getting and Ratu Inoke would not have known the specifics of the weapons if I had asked him,” Narawa said.

The alleged meeting was arranged by army intelligence officer Lance Corporal Peniasi Kuli, the army’s double operative who discovered the alleged assassination plot in September 2007.

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