Friday, August 26, 2011

Acting CJ is Regime Toy Boy & Malicious Prosecution Thrown Out

Raw Fiji News - 26 August 2011


Daniel Gounder – Aiyaz and Shameem’s toy boy


Questionable Daniel Gounder

Folks, the appointment of unknown Daniel Gounder masquerading as a high court judge in Fiji and now its acting chief justice, reveals just how far Fiji has fallen. Freedom blog sites have fingered him as Aiyarse and Nazhart Shameem’s toy boy.
With rumours illegal chief justice Tony Gate’s leaving Fiji, it seems this opportunist will claim the highly coveted prize of chief justice, which is something I don’t think he even hoped for in his wildest dreams.
With Sitiveni Waileilakeba acquitted of all charges and hoping he’ll become State Witness against Qarase, the stage seems to be set to take Qarase down.
Aiyarse and Shameem had lined up Gounder to take Qarase down and was not going to risk a Sri Lankan Judge or Justices Temo or Inoke taking on the case for fear they might just rule according to law and not according to Shameem and Aiyarse.
Either way, the genie is already out of the bottle with former FICAC Prosecutor Tenakoon’s bomb shell alleging FICAC conducts politically motivated cases against opponents of the Military Junta, with huge implication to Qarase’s case.
Daniel Gounder will answer for actions and I wonder how he’ll feel sitting in the accused’s seat after being brought up from the cells below at Government Buildings?
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Sitiveni Weleilakeba’s withdrawn case confirm junta’s unfounded malicious charges


But then I suppose, that’s something he wouldn’t even dare dream about as well.
by Tui Savu.

Sitiveni Weleilakeba
Sitiveni Weleilakeba and his wife Laisa Digitaki who was tortured by tyrant Frank Bainimarama 
Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption’s decision to withdraw their prosecuting case against former CEO of Fijian Holdings Ltd, Sitiveni Weleilakeba, is a confirmation of their superior’s vindictive agenda against certain Fijians they’ve targeted to justify their coup clean up corruption cause.
Sitiveni Weleilakeba was one of those successful Fijians targeted by Frank and Aiyaz’s regime.
Their motive? To penalize him for daring to prove that indigenous Fijians can make it big in Fiji’s commercial sector dominated by immigrant Gujaratis and others.
Sitiveni was co-charged with ousted Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase by FICAC for one count of Conspiracy to Effect an Unlawful Purpose, one count of Forgery and one count of Uttering Forged Document.
According to fijivillage news network, those charges have been dropped today.
So what exactly caused FICAC to change their mind to finally admit that their prosecution was born out of a malicious agenda to destroy Sitiveni Weleilakeba and Laisenia Qarase’s lives?
Another interesting question that comes out of this development is, “What happens to Qarase now that Weleilakeba’s charges has been dropped?”
The duo’s cases were consolidated after illegal Acting Chief Justice, Daniel Goundar, the presiding judge ruled that the two cases were common.
Does it mean then that Qarase is also a free man proving once and for all that Frank’s coup was nothing more than his attempt to evade the long arm of the law for his part in the 2000 coup d’etat?
From where we seat, we can see that like Sakiusa Tuisolia and Imrana Jalal, Sitiveni Weleilakeba’s withdrawn case by FICAC is nothing short of a malicious act by Frank, Aiyaz, Nazhat and Co. on hardworking successful Fijians who refuse to buy into their madness.
Meanwhile, Fiji media censors have decided to withdraw all media coverage regarding Sitiveni Weleilakeba’s dropped FICAC case after fijivillage radio network suddenly removed their story from their website.
Here is a letter sent to Fiji media Publishers a few hours ago:
Dear Publishers

You are hereby requested to send in all news headlines to mediamonitor@info.gov.fj at least half an hour before it is aired.

This will enable us to effectively monitor the coverage for each day.

Your cooperation will be appreciated.

Vinaka

Kalpana Prasad and Qilioani Ravunibola
Media Monitor/Censor
Ministry of Information
Ph: 990 4956 and 990 8885
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Frank Bainimarama rattled by dissenters


By: Neil Ashdown

IHS Global Insight Daily Analysis
The military government of Fiji has issued a stern warning to potential troublemakers as it seeks to clamp down on dissenting voices in the country.
IHS Global Insight Perspective
Significance
The regime-orientated Fiji Sun newspaper today carried an article warning people not to “stir up trouble”.
Implications
The warning came as anti-regime graffiti was found around the capital, Suva, and comes amid clampdowns on the unions, the church, non-government organisations and academia.
Outlook
While political instability is unlikely in the short term, the regime’s attitude towards dissenting public voices suggests that the democratic transition scheduled for 2013–14 will prove difficult.
Fiji’s military government has warned against potential troublemakers stirring up trouble in a warning that appeared in the regime-orientated Fiji Sun newspaper today. The warning follows the decision to cancel the annual conference of Fiji’s Methodist Church on 22 August (see Fiji: 22 August 2011: ). In the article, Colonel Mosese Tikoitoga, the land force commander of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF), states that troublemakers will “face the full brunt of the law”. He also calls on members of the Methodist Church who have travelled to Suva for the cancelled conference to return home “as soon as possible” and to avoid meeting in groups “which could lead them to break the law”.
The conference was due to commence on 23 August. Explaining the cancellation yesterday, Col Tikoitoga blamed the politicisation of the Church, saying that that “there needs to be some changes of both mindsets and people with[in] the hierarchy of the Methodist Church to completely eradicate politics”. He also stated that the regime’s ruling military council saw the Methodist Church conference as an “internal security issue” (see Fiji: 23 August 2011: ).
The conference was cancelled when the regime withdrew the permit allowing it to take place. Fiji remains under a state of emergency and meetings of any kind theoretically require a permit. These requirements are set out under the Public Emergency Regulations (PER), which were introduced following the abrogation of the constitution in 2009 and which also censor the Fijian media. Originally described as a short-term measure, the regime stated that the PER would not be renewed following the passage of a new decree on the operation of the media. Although that decree was passed in June 2010, the PER has been consistently renewed since then.
Writing on the Wall
The warning may have been issued in response to events in Fiji today. Possibly in reaction to the cancellation of the conference, there have been sightings of anti-regime graffiti around the capital, Suva. Photographs posted on anti-regime blogs show government billboards and bus stops vandalised with phrases like “PM evil murderer” and “PM out”. Later photographs showed members of the RFMF personnel painting over the slogans. One blog claimed to identify the culprits as a group called the Viti Revolution Forces—”Viti” is the Fijian word for Fiji.
No Dissent
The clash between the government and the Methodist Church is only the most recent in a series of recent incidents that highlight the regime’s intolerance not only of criticism but of any form of political organisation outside of its control. The most serious this month has been with the trade unions, and centres on a new decree that seeks to regulate and limit the power of the union movement in Fiji (see Fiji: 4 August 2011: ). In response, several Fiji unions sought support from unions in Australia and New Zealand and from the International Labour Organisation. Particularly galling for the regime was a call for a boycott of flights to Fiji, something which would hit the economically vital tourism industry. In response, police arrested a senior union leader and broke up union meetings (see Fiji: 15 August 2011: ).
Nor is opposition tolerated within government. In July, the provincial council in Lau reversed the election of Adi Ateca Ganilau as chairperson after the central government made it clear that it would not be willing to work with her. According to a military spokesperson, Adi Ateca had made statements “which were anti-government” (see Fiji: 13 July 2011: ). It is also worth noting that Adi Ateca is the sister of Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba Mara, who fled Fiji facing charges of sedition earlier this year and is now fronting a public campaign calling for regime change.
This attitude extends to individuals as well as groups. A prominent critic of the regime, Professor Wadan Narsey, left his position with the University of the South Pacific earlier this month. He claims he was removed because the Fijian government indicated it would withhold funding from the university unless he was dismissed. In particular, he singled out articles he has written on the Fijian National Provident Fund (FNPF), which is currently undergoing a restructuring programme that is being contested in the courts (see Fiji: 28 July 2011: ). Dr Brij Lal, another academic who has written extensive criticism of the regime, made Narsey’s departure public on 19 August. At the time he said that Narsey was removed because he did not “subscribe to the narrative being woven by those in power”.
There was further evidence of the pervasiveness of the regime’s attitude today, when Fijian Police Commissioner Brigadier General Iowane Naivalurua responded to calls from the Fiji Women’s Rights Movement (FWRM) to introduce gender-sensitivity training for police officers by telling the group to work with the police or “shut up”. In July the police dispersed a meeting of the FWRM (see Fiji: 1 July 2011: ). Permanent Secretary of Information Sharon Smith-Johns conceded that as an internal meeting it did not require a permit, but said that it was broken up because the group “refused to give the police any details of the meeting”.
Singing from the Hymn Sheet
The decision to run the government’s warning in the Fiji Sun highlights the often pliant state of the Fijian media. Today, the Fiji Trade Union Congress (FTUC) and the Fiji Islands Council of Trade Unions (FICTU) issued a joint statement condemning what they called media bias in favour of the government. Last month there was a co-ordinated campaign of ad hominem attacks against a senior trade unionist (see Fiji: 20 July 2011: ). The unions cited the Fiji Sun, Radio Fiji, and Fiji TV as among the biased outlets. In response to the accusations, Stanley Simpson, the director of Fiji Broadcasting News, ascribed the perceived bias to censorship. Describing the process, Simpson said: “censors come into the newsroom… we may get a call for… [a story] to be removed. Sometimes the reasons are given, sometimes it’s not given”.
The regime’s attitude towards criticism can be traced to a number of factors.
First, the fact that the government and the public service are staffed by serving military officers unused to debate or having their orders questioned cannot be discounted as a factor. There is some evidence that the regime may be attempting to promote the RFMF as an alternative source of unity in the country, replacing traditional foci such as nationality or chiefly structures, and this may have created a perception among some military officers that they are above criticism from these groups.
Second, it is clear that the regime regards itself as the victim of bias on the part of the foreign media, particularly in Australia and New Zealand, and hence is unwilling to allow domestic groups to add fuel to the fire. There is some merit in this claim—with positive news on Fiji often deemed less newsworthy—but the regime is also quick to accuse the media of bias in cases where its reporting is broadly accurate.
Third, it is likely that at least some members of the regime have a genuine belief that the reforms being implemented are necessary for Fiji’s future and that these reforms are supported by the population. Criticism of the regime is therefore seen as “anti-Fiji” and not in the country’s interests. The call by the union for a flight boycott is a clear example of this; regime figures like Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum pointed out, correctly, that a boycott would hurt the economy and the people of Fiji and sought to paint the union movement as anti-Fiji on this basis.
Outlook and Implications
The risk of political instability in Fiji remains low at present. The regime is firmly in control, backed by the military, which retains the capacity to guarantee its hold on power. What opposition there is remains concentrated abroad, in figures like Ratu Tevita Mara and in anti-regime blogs. While today’s graffiti in Suva indicates that there is a degree of domestic opposition, it is premature to talk of organised underground opposition groups. Yet while the regime remains secure in the short term, the position may alter in the medium- and long-term, particularly as it seeks to implement the promised democratic transition in 2013–14. Perhaps the most telling statement from Colonel Tikoitoga in the Fiji Sun article is when he states that “there is a proper channel to follow” for people with grievances. What this channel is Tikoitoga does not make clear and, given the regime’s intolerance of dissent, it is hard to envisage what form it would take. So long as the regime continues to clamp down on all avenues of expression outside of its control, the risk that it will drive dissent into more dangerous forms will persist.



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