Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Former Fiji elite troops had guns: Witness

Fiji Broadcasting Corporation, February 16, 2010

Former CRW soldiers told undercover intelligence officers that they had the guns to assassinate Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama, a prosecution witness informed the Suva High Court today.

Territorial Force soldier Luke Toa was giving evidence in the trial of 8 men accused of trying to assassinate Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama.

Toa told the court he heard one of the accused Barbados Mills tell military intelligence officer Peniasi Kuli that they had the guns.

Toa asked Mills why he didn’t bring the guns with him so they could use it for their planned training exercise.

He said Kuli then asked Mills if these were the guns from Vanua Levu but Mills said no.

Defence lawyers questioned Toa why he didn’t follow up with Mills about the whereabouts of the guns.

Toa says he couldn’t because the meeting lasted only ten minutes before they dispersed.

Toa adds that he didn’t enquire any further about the guns because he was more preoccupied with uncovering the assassination plot.

Kuli and Toa said in their testimony they were sent undercover by the Military to gather information from former CRW soldiers about the whereabouts of missing guns.

Territorial forces soldier takes stand

16 February 2010

A state witness in the conspiracy to murder trial has revealed in court today that the alleged assassination plot also involved taking over the key military installations apart from the QEB in Nabua, and the plan included the removal of Indo Fijians and bringing in Australians to run the businesses in Fiji.

Luke Toa who is a territorial forces soldier and is also related to state witness, Lance Corporal Peniasi Kuli, described the first meeting in Sabeto Nadi where the alleged plot was unveiled to them.

Toa stated that at the Sabeto meeting they were told that the plan involved taking over of the 3FIR, the FTG in Nasinu, the Navy Base in Walu Bay and the RFMF engineers.

Toa told the court that accused person Barbados Mills said in the meeting that the Commander was to be killed and a new President was to be appointed.

According to Toa, another accused Sivaniolo Naulago had said that according to the plan, Australians were to be brought into the country to run the business here and that the Indo Fijians will be removed.

Toa then described the meeting at the FTA Hall where he said Mills told them that they would need Rocket Propelled Grenades, Mortars, M16 and AK47 to carry out the alleged plan.

Meanwhile earlier today Defence Counsel, Iqbal Khan alleged that State witness, Sevuloni Keidreli has been coached what to say in his evidence in court in the assassination plot against the Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama and the others.

While cross examining Keidreli this morning, Khan put to the accused that his police statement does not contain crucial information which he gave in court and he has been told what to say by Lance Corporal Peniasi Kuli and other state witnesses who have already given evidence in the case.

Khan also put to Keidreli that he agreed to help Kuli as they are related by blood and not for the country.

He also said that all the information on any alleged plan to kill the Army Commander and the others were given to Keidreli by Kuli and not the accused persons and that at no time the accused persons ever called him to attend any meetings.

Keidreli denied the allegations stating that he was at the meeting with the accused persons who told them about the plans. The witness maintained that there is information that he gave in evidence to court which he may have forgotten to tell the police in the police statement.

Khan also asked Keidreli on whether accused person Barbadoes Mills had asked them why they went to the first meeting in Sabeto and alleged that Keidreli had said that he wanted to support the Qaranivalu Ratu Inoke Takiveikata as he was not happy with how his high chief was been treated.

Khan also alleged that it was Kuli who said that they will kill the Army Commander because the Military had changed its purpose. The witness denied giving that statement.

Upon questioning, Keidreli admitted that 6 or 7 men could not take over the might of the RFMF which is the 3FIR Unit.

The trial continues.

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