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Fiji Time: 23:48, Wednesday 23rd Apr 2014
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News Articles
- Police analyze kill plot judgement
- Lawyer to appeal the sentences
- All 8 men handed prison sentences
- Hours remain for sentencing of 8 men
- It’s D-Day
- All 8 men plead for non-custodial sentences
- Mutineers lawyer asks the court to treat them as first offenders
- Have mercy says Ratu Inoke’s lawyer
- Ballu Khan’s fate unknown
- Guilty
- Assessors to deliver verdict
- Guilty or not guilty?
- No witnesses to be called in alleged assassination case
- Accused alleges harassment by soldiers
- Accused person in assassination plot trial gives evidence
- Qaranivalu cross examined in kill plot trial
- Takiveikata takes witness stand
- 8 acquitted of charges to kill AG, Chaudhry
- Court martial evidence to be presented in trial
- Submissions made in kill plot case
- I was removed to derail investigation says Ali
- Nazir queried on questioning process
- Mills threatened to kill me says Ramulo
- I could not stop former CRW soldiers says Vosavere
- Accused denies assassination involvement
- 2 accused deny knowledge of kill plot
- Interviewing officer takes stand
- Assassination case continues
- Defense Counsel questions report
- State witness cross examined
- State witnesses related in assassination trial
- Territorial Forces soldier takes stand
- Conspiracy to murder trial adjourned
- Existence of assassination plan questioned
- Former CRW soldiers wanted to kill PM says State Witness
- Khans name comes up again in plot case
- Defence Counsel alleges collaboration
- Plot was to be executed during Christmas 2007
- State witness admits he received money
- More RFMF officers to take witness stand
- 3 prosecution witnesses appear in assassination trial
- New witness takes stand
- Conspiracy murder case resumes tomorrow
- Conspiracy murder case adjourned
- Second state witness questioned in state kill plot
- State witness alleges Tora was to supply the weapons
- Cross-examination of state witness continues
- State witness reveals methods of assassination
- Defence questions witness on no record of dates
- Witness reveals secret meetings
- First state witness takes stand
- Assassination trial gets underway
 

 
Police analyze kill plot judgement - March 09

Police are now analyzing the High Court judgement and sentencing of the 8 men convicted of conspiracy to murder Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama before deciding on the steps to be taken in relation to businessman Ballu Khan whose name was mentioned in court a number of times during the course of the trial.

High Court Judge Justice Paul Madigan while handing down the prison sentence to the 8 men last Friday stated that in the circumstances, he has no doubt that the plot was hatched by, orchestrated by and directed by Ballu Khan, probably in concert with his business partner, Ratu Inoke Takiveikata.

Ballu Khan was initially charged with the 8 men for allegedly conspiring to kill Commodore Bainimarama, however, High Court Judge Justice Andrew Bruce had put a permanent stay on all proceedings against him on the case.

Khan then left for New Zealand and is now living there.

Justice Bruce stated in his ruling that Khan’s personal rights and his rights to a legal counsel were breached by the police and the RFMF and that he was unlawfully and unconstitutionally detained for a substantial period of time after his arrest.

Police Commissioner Commodore Esala Teleni told Fijivillage that they will consult the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) on their next course of action.

Meanwhile, DPP Aca Rayawa referred all queries to the Attorney General.

Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said he has no comments to make in relation to the issue.


Lawyer to appeal the sentences - March 06 [Top]

The lawyer representing six of the eight men who were handed down prison sentences after being convicted of conspiring to murder Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama yesterday is now contemplating to appeal the sentences.

Lawyer Iqbal Khan told Fijivillage that they will definitely appeal the sentences handed down by High Court Judge Justice Paul Madigan after looking through the case proceedings and consulting his clients.

Justice Madigan started the prison sentences for all eight men at 6 years and increased or reduced their sentences based on their degree of participation.

Naitasiri chief Ratu Inoke Takiveikata has been sentenced to 7 years imprisonment.

Justice Madigan said that he was convinced that Ratu Inoke was one of the prime motivators with Ballu Khan to plan the conspiracy.

Sivaniolo Naulago has also been sentenced to 7 years imprisonment by Justice Madigan.

The Judge said Naulago was a major player in the conspiracy.

He said Naulago was the brain behind the brawn in the plot and it was profoundly sad that he fell under the spell of Ballu Khan and Ratu Inoke Takiveikata.

Barbados Mills will spend the next 6 and a half years behind bars as Judge Madigan said Mills was instrumental in the conspiracy.

Feoko Gadekibau has been sentenced to 5 years 6 months imprisonment.

Kaminieli Vosavere got four years, Metuisela Mua has been sentenced to 3 years 6 months imprisonment while Eparama Waqatairewa and Pauliasi Namulo got three years imprisonment each.

High Court Judge Justice Paul Madigan while handing down the sentence to the eight men convicted of conspiring to murder Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama stated that in the circumstances, he has no doubt that the plot was hatched by, orchestrated by, and directed by Ballu Khan, probably in concert with his business partner Ratu Inoke Takiveikata.

The Judge highlighted that the theme throughout the trial of weakening the military, "removing" the Commodore and the President, ridding the country of Indo Fijians, reveals both sinister and racial intentions.

He said there was no evidence before the court of any thought given to the fate of the average Fijian should the country be suddenly rid of its President, Prime Minister and Army.

He said the plans of the eight men were thoughtless, self serving and greedy.


All 8 men handed prison sentences - March 05 [Top]

The eight men convicted of conspiring to murder Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama have been handed down prison sentences by High Court Judge Justice Paul Madigan this afternoon.

Justice Madigan started the prison sentences for all eight men at 6 years and increased or reduced their sentences based on their degree of participation.

Naitasiri chief Ratu Inoke Takiveikata has been sentenced to 7 years imprisonment.

Justice Madigan said the court cannot take into account Ratu Inoke’s chiefly status as this is not recognised in court.

He said everyone who sits in the dock of the court sits there as an equal with all others before the law and it would be wrong to show him mercy because of Ratu Inoke’s position.

The judge said and Fijivillage quotes "On the contrary, Ratu Inoke someone of your status should be using your position to bring stability and progress to the country".

Justice Madigan then said that he is convinced that Ratu Inoke was one of the prime motivators with Ballu Khan to plan the conspiracy.

The High Court Judge said if the plan had succeeded, it would have brought misery to every person in this country.

He said the fact that Ratu Inoke had provided his house, farm and the Naitasiri Provincial building, he had a motive in weakening the military and bringing instability and havoc to the country.

However, Justice Madigan said the court does accept that there are genuine mitigating factors to Ratu Inoke’s advantage (including time spent in custody) and to reflect these, 12 months is deducted from the 6 year starting point.

The serious aggravating features he mentioned lead him to add 2 years to that sentence, making a total sentence for Ratu Inoke to serve of 7 years.

Sivaniolo Naulago has also been sentenced to 7 years imprisonment by Justice Madigan.

The Judge said Naulago was a major player in the conspiracy.

He said Naulago was the brain behind the brawn in the plot and it was profoundly sad that he fell under the spell of Ballu Khan and Ratu Inoke Takiveikata.

Barbados Mills will spend the next 6 and a half years behind bars as Judge Madigan said Mills was instrumental in the conspiracy.

He said Mills was the man that used to arrange transport, payments, meetings and training.

Feoko Gadekibau has been sentenced to 5 years 6 months imprisonment.

The Judge told Gadekibau that he was a driver and bodyguard for Ballu Khan and were in attendance at nearly all the meetings.

Justice Madigan said there is no evidence that he contributed to those meetings or played any role in organising matters, it is relevant however that Gadekibau acted by searching Corporal Peniasi Kuli’s group before the meeting at Sabeto.

The judge also said that despite Gadekibau’s counsels plea he cannot accept that the mutiny conviction is irrelevant to the Penal Code Offence.

The Judge said previous convictions speak of character no matter under what jurisdiction they arise within Fiji and a conviction for mutiny which is highly relevant in these circumstances cannot afford Gadekibau any credit.

Kaminieli Vosavere got four years prison sentence.

Judge Madigan said Vosavere’s role was minimal but he attended a meeting at the Suva foreshore with Mills and Corporal Peniasi Kuli where he agreed to be part of the plot with other conspirators.

The Judge said Vosavere had said I have the mind of an officer and I too can make plans.

The Judge said this is clearly evident of agreement to the conspiracy which the assessors obviously acted on.

Metuisela Mua has been sentenced to 3 years 6 months imprisonment.

Judge Madigan described Mua as the mystery man with no connections to Ballu Khan but he was present at one meeting and urged the conspirators to fight until the end and his role was minimal.

Eparama Waqatairewa and Pauliasi Namulo got three years imprisonment each.

They were employees of Ballu Khan and played a minimal part in the conspiracy.

High Court Judge Justice Paul Madigan while handing down the sentence to the eight men convicted of conspiring to murder Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama stated that in the circumstances, he has no doubt that the plot was hatched by, orchestrated by, and directed by Ballu Khan, probably in concert with his business partner Ratu Inoke Takiveikata.

Justice Madigan states that it is quite apparent that every one of the eight men, apart from Metuisela Mua, is connected in some way to Ballu Khan, whether he be business partner or employee capacity.

The Judge highlights that the theme throughout the trial of weakening the military, removing the Commodore and the President, ridding the country of Indo Fijians, reveals both sinister and racial intentions.

He said there was no evidence before the court of any thought given to the fate of the average Fijian should the country be suddenly rid of its President, Prime Minister and Army.

He said the plans of the eight men were thoughtless, self serving and greedy.

Justice Madigan said he has no hesitation in concluding that the plot was selfish, petulant, and arrogant and potentially highly destructive of the fabric of Fiji’s statehood.

He said by its very nature, a sentence for conspiracy charge cannot favor or disfavor any particular conspirator, they are in it together and will be punished together.

Justice Madigan said the court can nevertheless make adjustments to the sentences to reflect the roles of the ringleaders, organisers or "foot soldiers".


Hours remain for sentencing of 8 men - March 05 [Top]

In less than four hours, the eight men convicted of the charge of conspiracy to murder Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama will be sentenced by High Court Judge Justice Paul Madigan at the Suva High Court.

In their mitigation yesterday, the eight men asked for non-custodial sentences, saying they had played a minimal part in the meetings that were conducted.

Several character witnesses were also presented, with the defence counsel and the eight convicted men hoping that non-custodial sentences are handed down today.

After the mitigation yesterday, Justice Madigan stressed that he will seriously consider the degree of participation of each of the eight men when considering the appropriate sentences to be handed down.

While making submissions on the sentence yesterday, DPP lawyer David Toganivalu highlighted two previous cases on conspiracy to murder charges, and informed the court that in a case in Australia, two conspirators were sentenced to 12 years imprisonment while in another case for a similar offence, two men were sentenced to 9 and 12 years imprisonment.

Toganivalu stressed to Judge Madigan that the sentences must be a deterrent to the eight men and to others who may be thinking of committing such an act.

Justice Madigan questioned Toganivalu on whether he thought there are others who may try such a thing.

He replied that there may be like minded people in our struggling communities who must be deterred from trying to carry out such a crime.

The eight will be sentenced at 3.30 this afternoon.


It’s D-Day - March 05 [Top]

It’s D-Day for the 8 men convicted of conspiracy to murder Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama as High Court Judge Justice Paul Madigan will sentence them at 3:30pm today.

After the mitigation yesterday, Justice Madigan stressed that he will seriously consider the degree of participation of each of the 8 men when considering the appropriate sentences to be handed down.

While making submissions on the sentence, DPP lawyer David Toganivalu highlighted 2 previous cases on conspiracy to murder charges and informed the court that in a case in Australia, 2 conspirators were sentenced to 12 years imprisonment while in another case in Australia, 2 men were sentenced to 9 and 12 years imprisonment for a similar offence.

Toganivalu stressed to Judge Madigan that the sentences must be a deterrent to the 8 men and to others who may be thinking of committing such an act.

Justice Madigan questioned Toganivalu on whether he thought there are others who may try such a thing.

He replied that there may be like minded people in our struggling communities who must be deterred from trying to carry out such a crime.

Meanwhile, Justice Madigan stated in court yesterday that it is profoundly sad that Sivaniolo Naulago has now lost everything after being found guilty of conspiracy to murder the Prime Minister.

Judge Madigan also stated during questions with the defence counsels that it would have been chaos for Fiji if the plan had been carried out.

While mitigating on behalf of Naulago, lawyer Mehboob Raza highlighted Naulago’s impeccable career, being the first from his village to acquire a university degree and working in his chosen profession around the world.

Raza also stressed that Naulago’s only contact with Ballu Khan was a result of a successful application to work in his field of profession.

Raza stressed that his degree of participation be given weight as he was only a driver to cart people to the meetings and that no print outs were ever produced from the laptop where Naulago was said to have kept details of the plot.

Raza said it is a classic case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Raza said Naulago committed an offence which can be described as an offense in theory as no weapons were ever found which would have allowed the plot to be carried out.

Defence counsel of Eperama Waqatairewa, Iqbal Khan urged the court to consider the degree of participation which he stressed involved one of his jobs for Ballu Khan, which was to prepare grog full time and because of that he could not refuse to drink grog or leave until the session had finished.

Khan said it’s a classic case where the judge can tamper justice with mercy because of the evidence at hand.

He highlighted that Waqatairewa is 40 years old and lives with his two brothers and sisters.

Khan also stressed that Kaminieli Vosavere’s involvement was just one comment that he made at one of the meetings and asked the court for leniency towards him when considering sentencing.

Khan stressed that Pauliasi Namulo is 39 years old and his only crime was drinking grog at Khan’s place and justice of mercy should be considered by the court in imposing sentence.

In mitigation, all 8 men asked the court to show mercy and a second chance and pleaded for a non-custodial sentence.

After considering all the mitigating factors, the character references and submissions from all counsels, Justice Madigan will sentence the 8 men at 3:30 this afternoon.


All 8 men plead for non-custodial sentences - March 04 [Top]

High Court Judge Justice Paul Madigan will hand down his sentence to the eight men convicted of conspiracy to murder Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama at 3:30pm tomorrow.

Justice Madigan made this announcement in court in the last hour after the mitigation for the eight men came to an end.

In their mitigation, all the eight men have asked for non-custodial sentences, saying they had played a minimal part in the meetings that were conducted.

Several character witnesses were also presented, with the defence counsel and the eight convicted men hoping that non-custodial sentences are handed down.

National director of the SDL party Peceli Kinivuwai appeared in court as a character witness for Qaranivalu Ratu Inoke Takiveikata, who has been found guilty of conspiracy to murder the Prime Minister.

Kinivuwai told the court that Ratu Inoke was one of the architects of the SDL party following the upheavals of 2000.

The second character witness for the Qaranivalu was Reverend Pastor Poate Mata, who is the chairman of the Spiritual Development Committee of the province of Naitasiri.

Ratu Inoke’s lawyer Akuila Naco then told the court that Ratu Inoke is 63 years old, is married with nine children, and is the sole breadwinner.

He said in the whole scheme of things for which he stands convicted, Ratu Inoke’s involvement was minimal.

Naco also highlighted Ratu Inoke’s medical condition that he had to undergo an operation because of exposure to the conditions at Naboro Maximum Prison while he was serving time in prison.

Naco said that the court is a court of justice but also a court of mercy and they seek mercy and a second chance.

Khan asked Justice Paul Madigan during mitigation that he consider the degree of participation for the six men that he represents, for example, for Metuisela Mua, Khan said his name never popped up until after the 14th meeting and he never attended any other meetings and so to take this as well as him being 66 years old, into account.

Khan also said that for Eparama Waqatairewa, the only thing that he was guilty of was drinking grog there adding that Waqaitarewa never took part in the meetings.

He also pointed out that Kaminieli Vosavere and Pauliasi Namulo’s degree of participation was also minimal as they were present but did not take part in the meeting.

Defence counsel Iqbal Khan also stressed to High Court Judge Justice Paul Madigan to treat his clients Barbados Mills and Feoko Gadekibau convicted of conspiracy to murder as first offenders under the penal code, despite the two being convicted to five years imprisonment by the general court martial on mutiny charges.

Khan, while mitigating on behalf of Mills and Gadekibau, pointed to the details of previous convictions on the two presented in court by State prosecutor David Toganivalu which shows nil convictions.

Khan said the two must be treated as first offenders saying that while the two had been convicted on the mutiny charges, it does not come under the crimes in the penal code.

A character witness for Gadekibau, Pastor Sisa Ro Uluilakeba told the court that Gadekibau was involved in helping the youth group in his community and a trustworthy man who was different from others in the area as he never got involved in criminal activities and decided to join the army.

Character witness Pastor Pio Asaele told the court that Barbados Mills has suffered through his life and that his wife is expecting their second child sometime this week.

Khan informed the court that Mills is 42 years old and the case has been hanging over his head for three years, making life hard for him and his young family.

Khan has highlighted that all the accused were held in custody for 40 days and that they were allegedly brutally assaulted during their arrest.

He urged the court to consider these issues when deliberating on an appropriate sentence.

Khan also asked the court to consider that the victim did not suffer any psychological impacts as the plan was never carried out.

He also suggested to Judge Madigan to consider the element of entrapment saying it should be considered as a mitigating factor in the case.


Mutineers lawyer asks the court to treat them as first offenders - March 04 [Top]

Defence counsel Iqbal Khan has stressed to High Court Judge Justice Paul Madigan to treat his clients Barbados Mills and Feoko Gadekibau convicted of conspiracy to murder as first offenders under the penal code, despite the two being convicted to five years imprisonment by the general court martial on mutiny charges.

Khan, while mitigating on behalf of Mills and Gadekibau, pointed to the details of previous convictions on the two presented in court by state prosecutor David Toganivalu which shows nil convictions.

Khan said the two must be treated as first offenders saying that while the two had been convicted on the mutiny charges, it does not come under the crimes in the penal code.

A character witness for Gadekibau, Pastor Sisa Ro Uluilakeba told the court that Gadekibau was involved in helping the youth group in his community and a trustworthy man who was different from others in the area as he never got involved in criminal activities and decided to join the army.

Character witness Pastor Pio Asaele told the court that Barbados Mills has suffered through his life and that his wife is expecting their second child sometime this week.

Khan informed the court that Mills is 42 years old and the case has been hanging over his head for three years, making life hard for him and his young family.

Khan has highlighted that all the accused were held in custody for 40 days and that they were allegedly brutally assaulted during their arrest.

He urged the court to consider these issues when deliberating on an appropriate sentence.

Khan asked Justice Paul Madigan during mitigation that he consider the degree of participation of the six men who he represents, for example, for Metuisela Mua, Khan said his name never popped up until after the 14th meeting and he never attended any other meetings and so to take this as well as him being 66 years old, into account.

Khan also said that for Eparama Waqatairewa, the only thing that he was guilty of was drinking grog there adding that Waqaitarewa never took part in the meetings.

He also pointed out that Kaminieli Vosavere and Pauliasi Namulo’s degree of participation was also minimal as they were present but did not take part in the meeting.

Khan also asked the court to consider that the victim did not suffer any psychological impacts as the plan was never carried out.

He also suggested to Judge Madigan to consider the element of entrapment saying it should be considered as a mitigating factor in the case.

In relation to the former head of the Fiji Intelligence Service Metuisela Mua, Khan asked Justice Madigan to consider his client’s wish to spend the remainder of his life with his wife who is sickly and needs medical care overseas.

Khan told the court that doctors have recommended treating Mua’s wife overseas and because of this, it is Mua’s sincere plea to consider while sentencing his desire to be with his wife.

Khan also asked the court to take into consideration that he is 66 years old, married with two children and at the moment is the sole bread winner for his wife and their five grand children who reside with them.

Khan said that in Mua’s 37 years in the civil service with the military, he had an unblemished career, and contributed a lot not only to his own community but to the country as a whole.

He went on to say that Mua is also sickly due to the fact that he was shot and wounded while serving in Lebanon in 1999, and till today that bullet is still embedded in his bones which is the cause of his medical problems.

As a character referee, Mua’s long time friend and former Divisional Education Officer Eastern Saula Turaganivalu told the court he knew Mua when he co-founded the Kadavu choir in 1978, and since then he has known Mua to be a family man and had contributed a lot to his community emphasizing on the importance of education, organizing late night classes for students, some of whom today are now in tertiary institutions.

Character witnesses for these six men are currently taking the stand.


Have mercy says Ratu Inoke’s lawyer - March 04 [Top]

National director of the SDL party Peceli Kinivuwai appeared in the High Court this morning as a character witness for Qaranivalu Ratu Inoke Takiveikata, who has been found guilty of conspiracy to murder Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama.

Kinivuwai told the court that Ratu Inoke was one of the architects in the formation of the SDL party following the upheavals of 2000.

He added that Fiji suffered a major setback in 2000, which had catastrophic impacts both politically and economically, and Ratu Inoke stood up and was one of the few people that was chosen by the Army Commander to try and get the country out of the crisis it was in.

Kinivuwai also told the court that Ratu Inoke’s vision in the formation of the SDL was that it was to be a political party not only for the province of Naitasiri, but for all races in the country and for all the 14 provinces of Fiji.

Kinivuwai said this showed Ratu Inoke’s heart for his people and the country.

He said that he believed Ratu Inoke is not only a vital component of the SDL, but a very vital person in the rebuilding of the province of Naitasiri and in doing so, rebuilding the nation as a whole.

The second character witness for the Qaranivalu was Reverend Pastor Poate Mata, who is the chairman of the Spiritual Development Committee of the province of Naitasiri.

He said he has known the Qaranivalu since 2000 and used to visit him while he was in custody at Korovou.

He told the court that through their discussions, Ratu Inoke gave his blessings for the foundation of the setting up of the committee.

He said that Ratu Inoke is a humble person and he is accommodating and influential as a paramount chief, adding that nothing will ever progress in Naitasiri without Ratu Inoke.

Ratu Inoke’s lawyer Akuila Naco then told the court that Ratu Inoke is 63 years old, is married with nine children, is the sole breadwinner, with the family dependent on him for their livelihood and support.

He told the court that the Qaranivalu also holds the chairmanship for a number of boards and is at the forefront of the initiative to develop the Naitasiri province.

He said in the whole scheme of things for which he stands convicted, Ratu Inoke’s involvement was minimal.

He also said that when Ratu Inoke had pleaded not guilty to the offence, he was only exercising his constitutional right and also said that this was the first case of its kind in Fiji and while a sentence maybe used as a deterrent, he asked the court to consider Ratu Inoke’s age, his service to the community and the political life of this nation and to give special consideration in this case.

Naco also highlighted Ratu Inoke’s medical condition that he had to undergo an operation because of exposure to the conditions at Naboro Maximum Prison while he was serving time in prison.

Naco said that the court is a court of justice but also a court of mercy and they seek mercy and a second chance.

He then asked the court for a non-custodial sentence for the Qaranivalu.

The mitigation for second accused Feoko Gadekibau is currently ongoing.


Ballu Khan’s fate unknown - March 04 [Top]

As the mitigation of the eight men found guilty of conspiracy to murder Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama continues in the High Court, it is not known at this stage what steps will be taken in relation to Ballu Khan, whose name was mentioned in court a number of times in the course of the trial.

Khan’s name was mentioned a number of times in the evidence presented in court which was also highlighted by High Court Judge Justice Paul Madigan during his sum up yesterday.

Prosecution witness Peniasi Kuli’s evidence was highlighted where he talked about one of their first meetings with Ratu Inoke Takiveikata and Ballu Khan at Khan’s house in 2007 where Ratu Inoke and Khan talked about the assassination plot and said that it was better if Kuli joined their group.

In another meeting at Ratu Inoke’s home in Toorak, it was revealed in Kuli’s evidence that Ballu Khan was present with Ratu Inoke, Sivaniolo Naulago and Barbados Mills.

Kuli said they discussed the plan to kill the Commander and the take the Military Council because they were running the country.

In another meeting, it was highlighted by Kuli that his group went to Ballu Khan’s house to hear Metuisela Mua speak to them on some parts of how to overtake the government.

Kuli said when he got there he saw Mua, Ballu Khan, Pauliasi Namulo, Barbadoe Mills, and Khan’s gardener.

He said Mua spoke to them and extorted them all to carry out the task from the first to last until a new government was in place.

Kuli said after talking to them, Mua said he would not take part.

A few other meetings also took place at Ballu Khan’s house and in Sofitel, Nadi, where Khan was also involved according to Kuli.

Evidence was also heard that prosecution witness Major Narawa met up with Ballu Khan on a deserted road somewhere.

According to Narawa, the meeting was held at Khan’s request as he was upset that he had not spoken to Major Narawa when an earlier meeting took place at the Sofitel.

Justice Madigan said to the assessors that details of the meeting between Khan and Narawa were withheld from them because Khan is not here to challenge anything Major Narawa might say about that conversation.

In his ruling yesterday, Justice Madigan said that Ratu Inoke Takiveikata, Feoko Gadekibau, Barbados Mills, Sivaniolo Naulago, Metuisela Mua, Eparama Waqatairewa, Kaminieli Vosavere and Pauliasi Namulo have each been found guilty by the unanimous opinion of the five assessors.

Justice Madigan then said that he is satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that they conspired together with Ballu Khan and others between 1st August and 3rd November 2007 in Fiji to murder Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama.

He found the eight men guilty beyond reasonable doubt and convicted them of conspiracy to murder.


Guilty - March 03 [Top]

Guilty.

That is the verdict of the assessors in the relation to the kill plot trial of Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama.

The five assessors have just returned in the last few minutes to the court with a unananimous guilty verdict for accussed Ratu Inoke Takiveikata, Feoko Gadekibau, Barbados Mills, Sivaniolo Naulago, Metuisela Mua, Eparama Waqatairewa, Kaminieli Vosavere and Pauliasi Namulo.

This means that the assessors have found the eight men guilty of conspiring to murder Commodore Bainimarama in 2007.

High Court Judge Justice Paul Madigan ruled a few minutes ago that he has also found the eight men guilty beyond reasonable doubt.

The eight men will be sentenced at 10am tomorrow.

The maximum sentence for conspiracy to murder is 14 years imprisonment.


Assessors to deliver verdict - March 03 [Top]

The 5 assessors in the kill plot trial of Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama are now behind closed doors to reach a verdict on the eight accused who are Ratu Inoke Takiveikata, Feoko Gadekibau, Barbados Mills, Sivaniolo Naulago, Metuisela Mua, Eparama Waqatairewa, Kaminieli Vosavere and Pauliasi Namulo.

Following the sum up of the trial by High Court Judge Paul Madigan, the assessors retired behind closed doors at about 10.45 this morning and we are now awaiting their return to deliver their verdict.

In his sum up, Justice Madigan reminded the assessors to put aside their political opinions and take into consideration the evidence presented in the trial.

Justice Madigan also said that considering the fact that the case involves the Prime Minister, they should not listen to other opinions that could be made by their friends or the media outside the courtroom and should just assess the evidence presented in the trial.

He also said that the defence counsels had highlighted that mobile records were not presented as evidence adding that the assessors should not speculate as to what the records could and would have contained, but just to stick to what was presented in court.

Justice Madigan also told the assessors that the charge of Conspiracy to Murder does not actually have to involve whether the plan was completed, as it only takes two or more persons to agree to put the plan into play.

He said that all 5 assessors will have to come back with a verdict on each of the eight accused expecting 40 separate opinions on the accused.

He added that considering that each of the 8 are jointly charged, it does not mean that all will be found guilty and it is up to the assessors to return with a guilty or not guilty verdict after taking careful consideration of evidence presented.

Justice Paul Madigan reminded assessors that whatever was said in court takes prime relevance over whatever was written in statements.

Justice Madigan in his sum up then went over the evidence of the trial.

He reminded the assessors that Gadekibau, Mills, Waqatairewa and Namulo were all involved in the mutiny in 2000 and denied their involvement in the conspiracy to murder adding that they had said that they could not repeat what they had done in 2000, taking into consideration the pain that they had experienced.

In his sum up, Justice Madigan reminded the assessors that second accused Feoko Gadikibau said that during the mutiny in 2000, he had the opportunity to kill the Commander but did not go through with it.

Justice Madigan then reiterated that the assessors take this information into consideration when coming to a decision.

Justice Madigan also said that according to the fifth accused Metuisela Mua, the power point presentation given by Major Isireli Narawa was full of inconsistencies, as during his time as the head of the Fiji Intelligence Service, raw data should be verified and data including serial numbers should be given.

He said Mua had also spoken about the verification of sources.

Justice Madigan said that Mua also stated that he did not have anything against the Commander and had no reason to be involved in the alleged plot.

Justice Madigan then reminded the assessors that it is entirely up to them to assess whether Mua’s evidence is legitimate, as he is also one of the accused.

The assessors are still deliberating behind closed doors on the verdict.


Guilty or not guilty? - March 03 [Top]

High Court Judge Justice Paul Madigan will this morning do his closing submission in the conspiracy to murder Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama trial after which the assessors will retire behind closed doors to deliver their verdict.

Yesterday, the prosecution and the 3 defence counsels presented their sum up, where the prosecution stressed that the accused are guilty while the defence said that the case is unfounded.

State counsel David Toganivalu in his closing submissions said on the first state witness Lance Corporal Peniasi Kuli’s evidence, there is no need to corroborate the evidence, as he was an undercover agent.

Toganivalu said the defence witnesses’ evidence was very mild and the state had found the 8 accused guilty, as they were all part of the plan to kill Commander Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama.

Toganivalu pointed out 2 accused, namely Barbados Mills and Feoko Gadekibau, who were jailed for 5 years for the mutiny in 2000 and after 7 years they are now allegedly involved in the plot.

Meanwhile, defence counsel for the first accused Ratu Inoke Takiveikata, Akuila Naco, told the assessors in his closing submission to consider the facts of the case.

Naco said the onus is on the state to prove innocence beyond reasonable doubt.

He referred to the evidence given by Kuli where he said that this evidence is not credible and he could not recollect the actual dates when the events transpired.

Naco also highlighted Major Narawa’s evidence where he said that the plan to kill the Commander was mooted by Kuli.

Naco asked the assessors and Fijivillage quotes "Who do you believe then".

Naco submitted a not guilty verdict and said the assessors should consider that.

Defence counsel Iqbal Khan representing 6 accused namely Feoko Gadekibau, Barbados Mills, Metuisela Mua, Eparama Waqatairewa, Kaminieli Vosavere and Pauliasi Namulo said this was "Operation Liumuri" and he said that Major Narawa and Peniasi Kuli had suggested the plan to assassinate the Prime Minister and that they were the ones who should be charged with the offence of conspiracy to murder.

Khan said this trial is similar to Saddam Hussein’s case where the US attacked Iraq based on claims of Weapons of Mass Destruction.

He said the US intelligence is still trying to find out the truth about the weapons, as nothing has been found.

Khan in his closing submission commented about Ratu Inoke as one of the high chiefs in the country, where he went out of his way in his capacity as a chief and asked for reconciliation when he advertised in the newspaper.

Iqbal Khan questioned why the prosecution did not bring in Sergeant Waqa as a witness, as Kuli was reporting to him first before he changed to Major Narawa.

Khan asked why Waqa did not give a damn about information given by Kuli.

Khan also raised the question why Sergeant Tevita Lesu was not called as a witness as he was the chief investigating officer.

Khan told the assessors their verdict should be not guilty.

The case continues at 9 this morning.


No witnesses to be called in alleged assassination case - Feb 26 [Top]

There will be no more witnesses giving evidence in the alleged assassination case against Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama as the defense and prosecution lawyers will start making closing submissions next Tuesday.

Two defense witnesses Metuisela Mua and Sivaniolo Naulago gave evidence before Justice Paul Madigan yesterday afternoon.

Mua told the court yesterday there was no reason for him to kill the Commander.

DDP lawyer David Toganivalu also asked Mua for his comments on the alleged assassination charges against him to which Mua replied that he had met the Commander a number of times at church gatherings and stressed that he had nothing against the Commander.

He also told the court that his wife is a relative to some of the Commander’s nieces and nephews and that he is also related to the wife of the Commander’s elder brother.

When Toganivalu questioned Mua if he was asked by Ratu Inoke Takiveikata to brief the boys at Ballu Khan’s house, Mua said no and added that he did not attend any meetings on a Tuesday evening of October, 2007.

Mua told the court he was at a funeral gathering on Thursday and Friday when the alleged meetings were taking place.

Sivaniolo Naulago in his evidence told the court yesterday afternoon that he first saw Lance Corporal Peniasi Kuli at Ratu Inoke Takiveikata’s house in Toorak when he went to drop some items for Takiveikata.

Naulago in his evidence told the court that when he saw Kuli, he could not trust him.

Naulago told the court that he was introduced to Kuli but left Takiveikata’s house within minutes.

He told the court there was no talk in relation to any assassination plan.

Naulago said that he met Kuli for the second time at his Sabeto farm house upon Barbados Mills request as he received a call from Mills that Kuli was coming to his farmhouse.

When questioned by DPP lawyer David Toganivalu if Seveloni Keidreli had said in the meeting at the farmhouse to weaken the military, Naulago replied by saying nothing of this sort was discussed at the meeting.

Naulago also told the court that he had booked a room at the FTA building for a meeting to take place between Kuli and Mills adding that this was becoming a habit where Kuli was pestering Mills.

The case has been adjourned to next Tuesday.


Accused alleges harassment by soldiers - Feb 25 [Top]

One of the accused persons in the conspiracy to murder trial alleged in the High Court that military officers who assaulted them during their arrest were making racist comments against Ballu Khan and claimed in court of constant harassment by the Fiji Military Force after the events of December 5th 2006.

Sivaniolo Naulago, who was the General Manager for Ballu Khan’s company Pacific Connex, also told the court how the former CRW members, who are his co-accused, were hired to work as security guards for Ballu Khan.

Naulago recalled that after an incident at the Ba Provincial Council office in Ba in early 2006 where some men stormed the building one day to take over the premises, Khan was allegedly implicated in the incident through media reports after which he advised Khan on the need to get some protection.

According to Naulago, Khan then contacted former NLTB lawyer Tevita Bukarau who rounded up Barbados Mills, Feoko Gadekibau and Eperama Waqatairewa to provide security detail for Khan.

Naulago then alleged that after December, 2006, the Pacific Connex office was under constant surveillance by the RFMF.

He said several raids were also carried out at Pacific Connex by gun wielding soldiers and that the former CRW soldiers were taken to the military barracks for questioning on several occasions.

Naulago also told the court that Ballu Khan was also taken to QEB and was spoken to by Colonel Pita Driti and alleged that Driti told Khan that if anything was going to happen, Khan, his employees and Pacific Connex would be collateral damage number one.

Speaking of his arrest, Naulago claimed that at the Delainavesi Police Post, they were barbarically assaulted with malice and intentions to maim them.

He alleged that during the assault, one soldier named Korovou kept asking them why they are working for an Indian as they are the main cause of all the problems in Fiji.

He also recalled that after his arrest, while being driven to Valelevu, the police officer in the van Tevita Uluilakeba told him that he better pray hard that he lives to see the daylight the next morning.

Earlier today, another accused Barbados Mills gave sworn evidence and alleged that Lance Corporal Peniasi Kuli and his group had approached him to kill Army Commander Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama and wanted to trap him in their plot.

Barbados Mills, while being questioned by defence lawyer Iqbal Khan, told the court that Peniasi Kuli called him and pestered him to join his group but he only put up with Kuli because, after the events of December 2006, they were allegedly threatened by the Fiji Military Force that if something was to happen, the former CRW soldiers would face the full brunt of the army, whether they were involved in the plan or not.

He said he only agreed to meet Kuli to ensure his safety, the safety of his co-accused and his employer Ballu Khan.


Accused person in assassination plot trial gives evidence - Feb 25 [Top]

Accused person in the assassination plot trial Barbados Mills gave sworn evidence in court this morning and alleged that Lance Corporal Peniasi Kuli and his group had approached him to kill Army Commander Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama and wanted to trap him in their plot.

Barbados Mills, while being questioned by defence lawyer Iqbal Khan, told the court that Peniasi Kuli called him and pestered him to join his group but he only put up with Kuli because after the events of December 2006, they were allegedly threatened by the Fiji Military Force that if something was to happen, the former CRW soldiers would face the full brunt of the army, whether they were involved in the plan or not.

He said he only agreed to meet Kuli to ensure his safety, the safety of his co-accused and his employer Ballu Khan.

Mills told the court that after what happened to him in November 2000, he had learnt his lesson after spending five years in prison and stated that he had promised himself that he would never get involved in such activities and that he would never sacrifice his family and child by getting involved.

He alleged that his worst fears became real when Kuli turned the story around and accused them of plotting to kill the Commander.

Mills was also asked to recall the events of November 2nd 2000 when the attempted mutiny took place at the Queen Elizabeth Barracks.

He claimed that he only followed orders on that day stressing that a soldier never questions his superiors and that the RFMF does not teach its men about unlawful orders.

Mills said there are no bad soldiers, only bad leaders, which he realised when he pleaded guilty to mutiny charges in 2000.

Mills also stated, when questioned, that any attempt to take over the 3FIR would be a blood bath.

He said that 20 to 30 CRW men, who were well trained, tried in 2000 and failed as the 3FIR which is made up of about 800 to 1,000 men is the most dangerous place in the RFMF.

Speaking of the November 2nd 2000 mutiny, he also maintained that no order was ever given to the CRW men at the time to kill the Army Commander, who at one stage during the mutiny, was within shooting range from him.

DPP lawyer David Toganivalu questioned Mills on why he never reported Kuli and his group to the police.

Mills responded by saying that in late 2006, Ballu Khan had written to the Police Commissioner to complain about them being harassed by the military, and to date there was no reply and he knew that it was no use going to the police about the RFMF, who were in charge.

Mills then begged the court to believe what he is saying, reiterating that the brutal assault on him in 2000 and the hardships he faced when he lost everything including his property while in prison, he could never get involved in such activities.

Another accused Sivaniolo Naulago is expected to give his evidence in the witness box this hour.


Qaranivalu cross examined in kill plot trial - Feb 25 [Top]

State prosecutor David Toganivalu cross examined first accused Ratu Inoke Takiveikata yesterday in the trial where 8 men have been charged with conspiracy to murder the prime minister.

Toganivalu asked Ratu Inoke, the former Director of Pacific Connex, who funded the software Mysap which the company supplied at NLTB, to which he replied it was businessman Ballu Khan.

Toganivalu also asked whether Kalivati Bakani and Keni Dakuidreti were former directors, he said they were there before.

Toganivalu asked Ratu Inoke whether he invited Kuli to attend the meeting at Ballu Khan’s home, Ratu Inoke said he told Lance Corporal Peniasi Kuli he did not want to see him but Kuli insisted three times that he wanted to go to Ballu Khan’s place so he allowed him.

Toganivalu asked Ratu Inoke whether Kuli told him about the plan to assassinate the Prime Minister, he said yes it was Kuli.

Presiding Judge Justice Paul Madigan asked Ratu Inoke about the meeting with Major Narawa, to which he said he did not expect Narawa and it was not a meeting, it was only a discussion.

Meanwhile, second accused Feoko Gadekibau also took the witness stand yesterday.

Defence counsel Iqbal Khan asked Gadekibau whether he was still employed.

Gadekibau said he lost his job after the mutiny in November 2000 after he was instructed by senior officers at QEB to secure the main gate as he was only following instructions.

Gadekibau said in court he had to surrender himself at the Tamavua checkpoint on Thursday before he was taken up to QEB.

Khan asked Gadekibau whether he was assaulted by police and has also spent five years in jail for the mutiny charge.

Gadekibau said yes he was assaulted and had served his sentence.

Khan also asked Gadekibau whether he looked for another job after he served his sentence, he said he worked as a personal body guard to Ballu Khan.

He also worked for Yatu Lau.

Gadekibau also told the court that Colonel Roko Ului Mara called his boss to tell him that he was not happy that Gadekibau is working for Yatu Lau, Gadekibau then resigned.

The proceedings continue at 9 today.


Takiveikata takes witness stand - Feb 24 [Top]

The Qaranivalu Ratu Inoke Takiveikata took the witness stand this afternoon after he opted to give sworn evidence in the conspiracy to murder trial in the Suva High Court.

Ratu Inoke, who is charged with 7 others for allegedly conspiring to kill Prime Minister Commodore Bainimarama, was asked by Defence Counsel Akuila Naco if he could recall in September, 2007 when Lance Corporal Peniasi Kuli approached him.

Ratu Inoke told the court he could not recall the date but it was after dinner while he was waiting for transport to attend the meeting at businessman Ballu Khan’s house.

Ratu Inoke said that Kuli told him that there was a group within the military that had already set up a plan to assassinate the military commander.

Ratu Inoke said that Kuli told him that a lot of people supported the Qaranivalu including overseas diplomats.

Naco asked Ratu Inoke what was his response to Kuli’s statement and he said he did not accept Kuli’s explanation and told him not to visit him again.

However, Ratu Inoke said he asked Kuli if he wanted to go to Ballu Khan’s house and Kuli said yes.

Naco asked Ratu Inoke what was discussed in the meeting at Khan’s house.

Ratu said there was never a meeting as there were renovations underway at Khan’s house and also on his swimming pool.

Ratu Inoke continues to give his evidence this afternoon.


8 acquitted of charges to kill AG, Chaudhry - Feb 24 [Top]

The 8 men in the assassination plot trial have been acquitted of the second and third counts of conspiracy to murder Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and former Finance Minister Mahendra Chaudhry while the first count of conspiracy to murder Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama still stands.

High Court Judge Justice Paul Madigan made the ruling in the last hour in the Suva High Court and stated that Ratu Inoke Takiveikata, Feoko Gadekibau, Barbedos Mills, Metuisela Mua, Sivaniolo Naulago, Eperama Waqatairewa, Kaminieli Vosavere and Pauliasi Ramulo are acquitted on the 2 counts because there is no evidence of the element of the offence to show that they allegedly conspired to kill Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and Mahendra Chaudhry.

Judge Madigan referred to defence counsel Iqbal Khan’s cross examination of state witness Lance Coporal Peniasi Kuli who was questioned on whether Sayed-Khaiyum and Chaudhy’s names were mentioned at the first meeting in Sabeto where the alleged plot was discussed.

Judge Madigan notes that Kuli had stated that their names were not mentioned in the first meeting but only once in the second meeting which is alleged to have taken place at the Fijian Teachers Association building.

The High Court Judge ruled that the case will proceed on the first count which is the alleged plot to kill the Army Commander.

As the case proceeds, first accused Ratu Inoke Takiveikata has opted to give sworn evidence from the witness box this hour.


Court martial evidence to be presented in trial - Feb 23 [Top]

Evidence from the General Court Martial into the attempted mutiny on November 2nd 2000 against four accused persons will be presented to the assessors in the conspiracy to murder trial in the Suva High Court tomorrow.

DPP lawyer David Toganivalu made the application to adduce the evidence as the relevance of this evidence is that it reveals that accused persons Feoko Gadekibau, Barbedos Mills, Eperama Waqatairewa and Pauliasi Ramulo all pleaded guilty to a charge of mutiny to overthrow the lawful authority of Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama, Commander of the RFMF in 2000.

High Court Judge Justice Paul Madigan stated in his ruling today that the evidence sought to be adduced by the prosecution in this case is both highly relevant and highly probative.

While making the ruling, Judge Madigan states that in a trial for conspiracy to kill the Prime Minister who also happens to be the Commander of the RFMF, evidence relating to a previous plot to mutiny and overthrow the same commander of the RFMF takes on a relevance of the highest degree.

Justice Madigan stresses that it must be noted that evidence of acting in concert with others to mutiny against the Commander in November 2000 is not in itself evidence proving that the accused implicated are guilty of the current charges.

He said the assessors are entitled to have this most relevant evidence before them and they will be directed appropriately on its application and the extent of its use including the direction that it has nothing to do with the other accused persons, Ratu Inoke Takiveikata, Sivaniolo Naulago, Metuisela Mua and Kaminieli Vosavere.

Meanwhile, both the State and defence counsels will make submissions tomorrow on the application from lawyer Iqbal Khan that two accused persons, Eperama Waqatairewa and Kaminieli Vosavere, have no case to answer.

They will also make submissions whether counts two and three in the conspiracy to murder trial, which is the alleged plot to kill the Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and former Finance Minister Mahendra Chaudhry will be put to the assessors.

The case will resume at 9am tomorrow.


Submissions made in kill plot case - Feb 23 [Top]

The prosecution lawyer in the trial of the 8 men charged with conspiracy to murder Army Commander Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama and others, has made a submission to allow similar facts from the 2000 mutiny at the Army camp, to be allowed in court as evidence.

David Toganivalu this morning made the submission saying that the facts were related to the case as four of the accused, Barbados Mills, Feoko Gadekibau, Eparama Waqatairewa and Kaminieli Vosavere were also involved in the 2000 mutiny.

He also mentioned that they wanted to highlight the specialist training the accused persons had received as part of the CRW unit and stated that these facts could also allow for the accused persons to be able to have a fair trial.

However, defense lawyer Iqbal Khan objected to the submission saying that there were close to 20 other army officers involved in the 2000 mutiny and if the application was to be allowed, then the facts would be highly prejudicial to the eight accused in this trial.

Khan also raised the fact that the mutiny of 2000 happened a long time ago, in fact 10 years ago adding that back in 2000 the accused were soldiers however at the moment they are no longer employed by the military, making reference to the current charge of conspiracy to murder, and it would not be relevant to this case.

However, Judge Justice Paul Madigan told Khan that this is a case of circumstances where it is up to the assessors to decide on the facts.

A decision on whether or not the application of similar facts is allowed into court will be made at midday today.


I was removed to derail investigation says Ali - Feb 22 [Top]

The Directing Officer for the investigation into the conspiracy to murder the Prime Minister and others revealed in court today that he was purposely removed from the case to derail investigations.

During cross examination in the High Court this morning, ACP Nazir Ali was asked by Defence Counsel Iqbal Khan as to why it stated in his statement that he was upset, to which Ali said that since 1992 he had been complaining about police corruption and it was because of this.

He believed that he was removed from the case to derail investigations.

When Khan questioned Ali if he knew which officers were allegedly trying to derail investigations, Ali replied that he could not reveal much as he was talking to the Commissioner of Police about the matter.

Ali was also questioned by the Defence about the procedures taken by police in investigating the matter and was asked on what basis were the arresting charges made, to which he replied that police have special powers under the Criminal Procedure Code to arrest first and charge later and taking into account the seriousness of the allegations, this is what they did with the eight accused.

The trial continues.


Nazir queried on questioning process - Feb 20 [Top]

The Directing Officer in the investigation of the alleged plot to assassinate Army Commander Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama and others was queried on how the questioning process of the eight accused were carried out, as knowledge of the case itself was only limited to a few senior police officers.

ACP Nazir Ali revealed in court that he came to know of the case to assassinate Bainimarama and others, after he and the Director Special Branch and the Divisional Crime Southern were summoned by the Commissioner on 3rd November 2007 for an urgent meeting.

Ali said they were advised that there was a plot to overthrow the interim government and to remove the President from his office and that certain senior government officials were to be terminated.

Ali stated that during the briefing, they were told to see the senior officer in charge of the Army Intelligence Unit Major Isireli Narawa, who showed them the power point presentation of the alleged meetings that took place between the accused.

Ali was informed by Narawa that there was an undercover officer code named "BICO" within the group, named Lance Corporal Peniasi Kuli.

Ali told the court that at 3.30pm on the 3rd of November, he received a call from the Director of the Police Mobile Division that Ballu Khan along with former CRW soldiers were arrested at a checkpoint in Delainavesi.

Defense Counsel Mehboob Raza asked Ali that if he and only a few other senior officers knew of the case, then how was it that the interviewing officers knew what to ask the accused.

Ali in response to this said he had briefed the interviewing officers based on the power point presentation and what the officers asked was entirely up to them.

Raza pointed out that as the charge is for conspiracy to murder, then why was Pacific Connex mentioned during the interview, as it had nothing to do with the case, to which Ali replied that the interviewing officers would have referred to the power point presentation and asked the question.

The case will be called again at 9am on Monday.


Mills threatened to kill me says Ramulo - Feb 19 [Top]

An accused person in the alleged plot to assassinate Army Commander Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama and others alleged in his police statement that one of the accused, Barbados Mills threatened to kill him if he informed anyone of their plans.

Pauliasi Ramulo told police in his caution interview that while discussing work issues at Ballu Khan’s house in October 2007, Mills accused him of being the reason why two other co-workers refused to join their group.

The interviewing officer, Viliame Cequsau read Ramulo’s statement in court where Vosavere states it was at the meeting where Mills warned him that if he turned into an informer, he would be shot.

Ramulo, who was also working for Ballu Khan at that time, states in his interview that the Qaranivalu Ratu Inoke Takiveikata used to go to Ballu Khan’s house to have tea with him.

Ramulo also said Lance Corporal Peniasi Kuli also used to go to Khan’s house for meetings with Khan and Barbados Mills.

Ramulo states that on one occasion the Qaranivalu had told him that he was informed by Peniasi Kuli that some men from the RFMF Intelligence Unit wanted to kill the Commander.

According to Ramulo, he knew that Ratu Inoke was trying to trap them and he informed his fellow CRW men to be careful.

Ramulo said he was also told by Ratu Inoke that it was Peniasi Kuli’s group of men who wanted to kill the Army Commander.

The accused also states in his caution statement that Ballu Khan, Ratu Inoke Takiveikata, Jone Baledrokadroka, Kaminieli Vosavere, Barbados Mills and Feoko Gadekibau used to have regular meetings at Khan’s house for grog sessions after work.

He also said that at the time, Barbados Mills was not working for Khan but he used to show up at Khan’s house with Peniasi Kuli.

Another accused Kamenieli Vosavere’s statement was also read in court where he states that he could not stop the intentions of his former CRW men and that he did not want to join the group because they did not have enough manpower.

In his caution statement, Vosavere states that Barbados Mills had approached him to join their group as something was going to happen.

But Vosavere said he was not interested in joining Mills and his group.

Vosavere was working as a security guard for Ballu Khan and stated in his interview that at a meeting at Ballu Khan’s place with Barbadoes Mills, Feoko Gadekibau, Pauliasi Ramulo and Eparama Waqatairewa, he was not in favour of the conversation that was taking place as it was about the political situation in the country.

But in his caution statement, Vosavere maintains that he had no knowledge of the alleged plot because he did not want to know about it.

Following that, accused Pauliasi Ramulo’s caution statement was read out by interviewing Officer Sergeant Epeli.

Meanwhile, investigating officer Nazir Ali is taking the stand this afternoon to give his evidence.


I could not stop former CRW soldiers says Vosavere - Feb 19 [Top]

One of the accused in the alleged assassination plot to kill the Army Commander and others, Kaminieli Vosavere told police in his caution interview that he could not stop the intentions of his former CRW men and that he did not want to join the group because they did not have enough manpower.

The interviewing officer, Viliame Cagosau read Vosavere’s caution statement in the High Court this morning, where he states that Barbados Mills had approached him to join their group as something was going to happen.

But Vosavere said he was not interested in joining Mills and his group.

Vosavere was working as a security guard for Ballu Khan and stated in his interview that at a meeting at Ballu Khan's place with Barbados Mills, Feoko Gadekibau, Pauliasi Ramulo and Eparama Waqatairewa, he was not in favour of the conversation that was taking place as it was about the political situation in the country.

But in his caution statement, Vosavere maintains that he had no knowledge of the alleged plot because he did not want to know about it.

Following that, accused Pauliasi Ramulo’s caution statement was read out by interviewing Officer Sergeant Epeli.

Ramulo, who was also working for Ballu Khan at that time, states in his interview that the Qaranivalu Ratu Inoke Takiveikata used to go to Ballu Khan’s house to have tea with him.

Ramulo also said Lance Corporal Peniasi Kuli also used to go to Khan’s house for meetings with Khan and Barbados Mills.

Ramulo states that on one occasion, the Qaranivalu had told him that he was informed by Peniasi Kuli that some men from the RFMF Intelligence Unit wanted to kill the Commander.

According to Ramulo, he knew that Ratu Inoke was trying to trap them and he informed his fellow CRW men to be careful.

Ramulo said he was also told by Ratu Inoke that it was Peniasi Kuli’s group of men who wanted to kill the Army Commander.

The accused also states in his caution statement that Ballu Khan, Ratu Inoke Takiveikata, Jone Baledrokadroka, Peniasi Kuli, Barbados Mills and Feoko Gadekibau used to have regular meetings at Khan’s house for grog sessions after work.

He also said that at the time, Barbados Mills was not working for Khan but he used to show up at Khan’s house with Peniasi Kuli.

Earlier today, Superintendent Apisalome Tuiwakaya, who took accused person Metuisela Mua's statement, was cross examined by Mehboob Raza.

During questioning, Tuiwakaya agreed that Mua had denied being at any of the 16 meetings, where he is alleged to have discussed the plot.

Raza stressed that on each occasion, Mua had an alibi and questioned whether any attempts were made to investigate and verify this to which Tuiwakaya admitted that no attempts were made by the police to verify Mua’s alibi before he was charged.

Meanwhile, investigating officer Nazir Ali will take the stand in the next hour.


Accused denies assassination involvement - Feb 19 [Top]

One of the eight men charged with conspiracy to murder Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama and others said in his police statement that he never wanted to take part in any planning.

Barbados Mills had his caution statement read out in the Suva High Court by former Police officer Corporal Samisoni Ralulu, who was the witnessing officer when Mills was questioned by police on November 3rd, 2007.

In his statement, Mills said that he was repeatedly approached by Lance Corporal Peniasi Kuli to take part in the planning stages however he kept on saying that he was not interested in taking part as his life was under threat.

When Mills was arrested in November 2007, he was informed that he was charged with conspiring to kill the Army Commander as well as take out the President of Fiji however Mills maintains that he had informed Corporal Kuli on several occasions that he did not want to take part in the plot.

According to his statement, Mills said that he as well as other CRW soldiers had been warned by the military that their lives were in danger if they took part in any other illegal activities.

His statement also said that Corporal Kuli would repeatedly call him to set up meetings however he kept on saying that he did not want to be part of the plan.

On one occasion in the second week of September 2007, Mills said while he was at his sister’s place at the Raziz apartments, Kuli met him and showed him plans to carry out a hit and run accident in order to kill the Army Commander however Mills told him that he was not interested.

The High Court also heard that Mills was working for Ballu Khan and was also a tenant at the first accused, the Qaranivalu's house in Nausori.

However, in his statement to police, Mills said that he only rented the house and paid the bills as he was carrying out renovations there and never had any talks with Ratu Inoke Takivaikata with regards to any assassination plot.

Barbados Mills is one of the eight men charged with allegedly conspiring to kill Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama, Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum as well as former Finance Minister Mahendra Chaudhry.

The case continues.


2 accused deny knowledge of kill plot - Feb 19 [Top]

Two of the accused facing charges of conspiracy to murder the Army Commander and others yesterday revealed in the Suva High Court that they did not have any idea of the assassination plans.

The two, Eparama Waqatairewa and Metuisela Mua, had their police caution statements read out in the High Court by the police detectives that had interviewed them in 2007 and the court heard that they only got to know of the charges laid against them when they were being questioned.

Corporal Detective Emosi Solo read out Waqatairewa’s caution statement in court.

According to his statement, Waqatairewa was informed that he was being charged for allegedly conspiring to assassinate Army Commander Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama and to take out the President of Fiji between August until October of 2007 however, Waqatairewa told Solo that though he used to work for Ballu Khan, he did not know any of the other seven accused.

Waqatairewa also said in his statement that during the period of the alleged meetings held in Nadi, at Ballu Khan’s home in Muanikau, as well as at the home of fellow accused Sivaniolo Naulago, he was back in the village of Vatoa as he was unemployed at the time.

Waqatairewa also revealed in his statement that he did not have any meetings with the accused as he had left the employment of Ballu Khan two months prior to his arrest as the pay was not good.

Meanwhile, the fifth accused, Metuisela Mua also had his caution interview statement read out in court where it was heard that he had no knowledge of any meetings and stressed that he did not take part in any conspiracy.

According to his statement which was read out by ASP Apisalome Tuiwakaya who had interviewed him on the 3rd of November 2007, Mua revealed that he did not have any dealings with the other seven accused as he was engaged in his church activities during the time of the alleged meetings.

According to his statement, the former Director of the Fiji Intelligence Services also revealed that he had no idea and did not take part in the meetings from the 20th of September 2007 at the Fijian Teachers Association hall, the Qaranivalu’s house, at the fourth accused Sivaniolo Naulago’s house in Sabeto, Nadi, as well as at Ballu Khan’s house.

Mua in his statement also revealed that he was, on the 12th of October 2007, attending the funeral of a church reverend and was not at any meeting with the first accused, the Qaranivalu Ratu Inoke Takiveikata.

The High Court also heard that since Mua’s retirement from the civil service, Mua had been involved in a lot of church activities as he was the elder for his Methodist Church circuit in Makoi.

The trial continues this morning.


Interviewing officer takes stand - Feb 18 [Top]

The police detective that interviewed the second accused Feoko Gadekibau, who is one of the 8 charged with conspiracy to murder Army Commander Commodore Bainimarama and others, was today asked why he never sought medical help for the accused who showed signs of having being assaulted.

During cross examination this morning, Defence Counsel Akuila Naco questioned Detective Corporal Ilaisa Bacau about this matter after Gadekibau revealed while giving his statement to police that he had been assaulted during his arrest.

All the Defence Counsels questioned Bacau as to why Gadekibau was never given medical treatment, after his statement which was read in court said that a soldier named Koro had allegedly assaulted him when he was arrested with Barbados Mills, Sivaniolo Naulago and Ballu Khan in early November 2007.

In response, Bacau told the High Court that there were procedures to follow when it came to complaints of assault and stressed that there was a unit set up in the Police Force that dealt with complaints of assault and Gadekibau would have had to go and lodge a complaint with the unit.

Bacau also revealed that during his briefing prior to interrogating Gadekibau, his superior ACP Nazir Ali only told them to interview and nothing else.

Meanwhile, during cross examination, Mehboob Raza also raised queries on where the police had received information and questions to ask the accused on allegations that their plan was to kill the Army Commander and also to take out the President and have Jone Baledrokadroka act as President, to which Bacau said that before questioning the accused, he was handed a bullet point sheet of facts from ACP Ali and this was one of the questions listed.

When asked by all the defence lawyers if it was normal procedure to rely on bullet point facts when interviewing instead of statements, Bacau added that this was a totally different kind of questioning altogether, due to the urgency of the case as it dealt with the charge of conspiracy to murder the Army Commander and others.

Defence Counsel Mehboob Raza also questioned Bacau on why no lawyer was present.

However, Bacau revealed that Gadekibau did try to contact a lawyer by the name of Sevuloni Valenitabua but was unsuccessful.

He also told the court that the accused preferred to carry on with the police interrogation.

The trial continues.


Assassination case continues - Feb 18 [Top]

The afternoon session in the conspiracy to murder trial did not take long yesterday as the main Interviewing Officer Sergeant Suliano was not present in court as he was on an overseas mission.

Regional Crime Officer Eastern ASP Arthur White took the stand yesterday as a State witness before Justice Paul Madigan.

White was questioned by Defence Counsel Mehboob Raza if he could recall where he was on the 3rd of November.

White told the court he was based at CID headquarters in Suva, where he was directed to be the witnessing officer during Ratu Inoke Takiveikata's caution interview.

Raza asked White who was in charge of the CID in 2007.

White replied the man in charge was the Assistant Commissioner of Police then, Nassir Ali who was directing the police officers of their role during the caution interview.

The eight charged with conspiracy to murder Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama and others includes the Qaranivalu Ratu Inoke Takiveikata, Feoko Gadekibau, Barbados Mills, Sivaniolo Naulago, Metuisela Mua, Eparama Waqatairewa, Kaminieli Vosavere, Pauliasi Ramulo.

Court case resumes this hour.


Defense Counsel questions report - Feb 17 [Top]

The credibility and accuracy of reports compiled by the Military officer sent to gather information on the plot to assassinate Commodore Bainimarama and others were scrutinized by the Defense Counsel this morning.

In cross examination, Defense Counsel Iqbal Khan questioned the Head of the Military Intelligence Unit, Major Isireli Narawa as to how accurate and credible the information being brought to him by Lance Corporal Peniasi Kuli really was.

In going over the report, Khan asked Narawa if the information was credible because two issues highlighted in the report said otherwise.

Khan stated that the report said that Ballu Khan had the missing weapons and ammunition, however no weapons were found and also Kuli had stated that Apisai Tora would be bringing the guns and ammunition however this also never happened.

Narawa replied that he trusted his source and all information given to him.

Khan also questioned Narawa as to why the fourteenth report compiled by Sergeant Waqa on the alleged meetings with the Qaranivalu was never given to the police when he gave his statement on the 3rd of November 2007.

Khan asked Narawa why he only gave his Power Point presentation as this was only a summarised version of the fourteen reports given by Sergeant Waqa on the alleged meeting, to which Narawa replied that, at that time, the police only asked for the Power Point presentation.

Khan then asked Narawa why the fourteen detailed reports were given later on the 28th of August 2008 and not given when he gave his first statement.

Narawa maintained that the police just asked for the Power Point presentation.

The case continues.


State witness cross examined - Feb 17 [Top]

State witness to the conspiracy to murder trial, Luke Toa was cross examined by Defence Counsel Akuila Naco yesterday to tell the court about the trip to the training site in Wailase, Naitasiri.

Luke Toa said that a van picked him up from his home at Wainivula where he went with Lance Corporal Peniasi Kuli, Sevuloni Kaidreli, Barbados Mills and Sivaniolo Naulago.

Naco asked Toa whether they used sticks for the training and whether they had to crawl on the red mud, Toa said yes.

Naco also asked Toa who was their trainer at Wailase, he mentioned Mills was training them but it was Kuli who was the leader of their group.

Toa also told the court that after the training that afternoon, they travelled back to Suva to meet at Ballu Khan's house where they washed themselves because their clothes were covered with red mud after the training at Wailase.

Naco asked Toa what is the relationship between him and Kaidreli, in reply Toa said his father and Kaidreli's father are brothers.

The 8 accused persons are the Qaranivalu Ratu Inoke Takiveikata, Feoko Gadekibau, Barbados Mills, Sivaniolo Naulago, Metuisela Mua, Eparama Waqatairewa, Kaminieli Vosavere and Pauliasi Ramulo.

Court resumes at 9.30am this morning.


State witnesses related in assassination trial - Feb 16 [Top]

The motive behind Lance Coporal Peniasi Kuli assembling a team of RFMF personnel, who were his relatives, has been questioned by defence counsels in the Suva High Court in the alleged plot to kill the Army Commander and others.

Defence lawyers Mehboob Raza and Iqbal Khan while cross examining state witnesses Sevuloni Keidreli, Saula Lasagavibau and Luke Toa, have established that the witnesses are Kuli's cousins and they were initially informed by Kuli of the alleged plot to kill the Army Commander.

The state witnesses also admitted that they were informed of and taken to meetings by Kuli where the alleged plot was discussed and that Kuli was their only form of contact with the accused persons.

Today, witness Luke Toa told the court that he was informed by Kuli that he had attended meetings with the accused persons before Kuli approached him to uncover the alleged plot.

Toa said he never had direct contact with the accused persons and acted on Kuli's instructions.

Toa, along with the other two previous witnesses, said they were in the group to locate the missing weapons but all admitted that they did not ask questions on the whereabouts of these weapons.

Meanwhile, earlier today Toa revealed in court 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 businesses 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, M16s and AK47s to carry out the alleged plan.

The case continues.


Territorial Forces soldier takes stand - Feb 16 [Top]

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 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, M16s and AK47s to carry out the alleged plan.

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


Conspiracy to murder trial adjourned - Feb 15 [Top]

The Trial regarding the 8 men charged with Conspiracy to Murder the Army Commander and others was this morning adjourned after the High Court heard that State witness, Sevuloni Keidreli was not available to continue giving his evidence this morning.

Judge Justice Paul Madigan was informed by State prosecutor David Toganivalu that Keidreli has an eye infection.

However, Justice Madigan has told Toganivalu to find out how serious Keidreli's illness is and ordered the case be stood down awaiting Toganivalu's report.

The eight accused persons charged with conspiracy to murder Commodore Bainimarama, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and Mahendra Chaudhry are Naitasiri high chief Ratu Inoke Takiveikata, Feoko Gadekibau, Barbados Mills, Sivaniolo Naulago, Metuisela Mua, Eparama Waqatairewa, Kaminieli Vosavere and Pauliasi Ramulo.

The case is currently underway.


Existence of assassination plan questioned - Feb 13 [Top]

Defense lawyer Akuila Naco in the trial with regards to the Conspiracy to Murder of the Army Commander and others, yesterday during cross examination of State witness Sevuloni Keidreli, questioned whether there was really an assassination plan in place.

During cross examination, Naco asked Kedreli to clarify reasons for his assisting his cousin Lance Corporal Peniasi Kuli, to which Kedreli replied that his role was to get information for the recovery of the weapons that had gone missing from Parliament in 2000.

The High Court had earlier heard that Keidreli, who was working as a carpenter in September, 2007, was approached by Lance Corporal Peniasi Kuli, seeking his help to uncover a plan laid out by former CRW soldiers, Feoko Gadekibau, Sivaniolo Naulago and Barbados Mills.

However, when questioned by Naco, Kedreli admitted that he had not been successful in getting information about the weapons and that he did not know what weapons to search for, as he was not given a list of the missing weapons by Kuli, and that he had no prior knowledge as to the make and type of weapons that were missing.

Meanwhile, when shown court exhibits of photographs of their training ground in Wailase where the group had supposedly gone to train before they carried out their assassination plan in 2007, Keidreli admitted in the High Court that he was not able to clearly recall the exact place as it had happened a long time ago.

Kedreli said that all he remembers is that the place where they had trained in Wailase was about 100 meters from the road and they had to follow a track before they got to level ground.

However, Naco then asked Kedreli if there was really a training camp as the places indicated by Kedreli in the photograph was actually a slopy area and there was a cliff at the end.

Naco also added that there was no way people could walk any futher because of the cliff and a creek, to which Kedireli replied that he could not recall, as the last time he had seen the place was a long time ago.

Naco then posed the possiblity that Keidreli and Lance Corporal Peniasi Kuli had come up with the allegations of an assassination plot against Commodore Bainimarama and others, as there was no way of finding the missing weapons, Kedreli said that he stood by his earlier statements, adding that there was indeed a plan to assassinate the Prime Minister and others and that he was not lying.

The matter has been adjourned to next week Monday where cross examination will continue.

The 8 accused persons charged with conspiracy to murder Commodore Bainimarama, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and Mahendra Chaudhry are Naitasiri high chief Ratu Inoke Takiveikata, Feoko Gadekibau, Barbados Mills, Sivaniolo Naulago, Metuisela Mua, Eparama Waqatairewa, Kaminieli Vosavere and Pauliasi Ramulo.


Former CRW soldiers wanted to kill PM says State Witness - Feb 12 [Top]

A member of the Military Reserves told the High Court in the Conspiracy to Murder Trial this morning, that a former CRW member and accused, Barbados Mills had told him at a meeting that he did not like Army Commander Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama due to his actions against the CRW Unit in 2000.

Sevuloni Keidreli was working as a carpenter in September, 2007 when Lance Corporal Peniasi Kuli paid him a visit, seeking his help to uncover a plan laid out by former CRW soldiers, Feoko Gadekibau, Sivaniolo Naulago and Barbados Mills.

Keidreli said that Kuli told him that he needed help to get information on the plan and recover the weapons that went missing from Parliament in 2000.

He agreed to assist him as Kuli is his cousin.

He then described how they made their way to Nadi for their first meeting that was held at Naulago's farm in Sabeto.

Keidreli said Naulago briefed them on their plan on how to weaken the Army and that Mills said to him that their plan was to kill the Army Commander and that he did not like the Army Commander because of what he had done to them in 2000.

Keidreli said a week later they met the 3 accused persons again in a meeting at the Fijian Teachers Association building.

He said Naulago led the meeting and told them that they would provide all the weapons.

Keidreli told the court that Naulago said that Ballu Khan would provide the weapons and that they had asked for 30 weapons.

Keidreli said that after the meeting, he was given $15 by Kuli as Naulago had already given them money for their fare.

He then went on to describe the third meeting which he said was held at a two storey building in Nausori, close to Ratu Cakobau Park.

Kedreli said that at the meeting, they were told that their task would be to take over the 3FIR Unit based at Queen Elizabeth Barracks in Nabua and that they need to prepare themselves and also stressed the need for them to meet every week.

The 8 accused persons charged with conspiracy to murder Commodore Bainimarama, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and Mahendra Chaudhry are Naitasiri high chief Ratu Inoke Takiveikata, Feoko Gadekibau, Barbados Mills, Sivaniolo Naulago, Metuisela Mua, Eparama Waqatairewa, Kaminieli Vosavere and Pauliasi Ramulo.

The case continues this hour.


Khans name comes up again in plot case - Feb 12 [Top]

Member of the RFMF Reserves Sevuloni Keidreli, who was assisting the Military Intelligence Unit to uncover the alleged plot to assassinate the Army Commander and others, revealed that materials used by them at a training exercise were dropped off at businessman Ballu Khan's house.

While giving evidence, Kedreli told the court that a week after the meeting in Nausori, he was picked up by accused Sivaniolo Naulago and others and they went to Wailase where training exercises were to be carried out.

He described how they constructed models of the 3FIR Unit, the Military Armory and the Stand-By Unit.

Keidreli said he was then asked by accused, Barbados Mills to go to the road and keep watch while they carried out the exercise to ensure no one would see what they were doing.

During his evidence, Kedreli said while they were returning to Nausori from Wailase, Ballu Khan called Naulago and told them to go to his house at Kavika place in Suva.

He said they went to Khan's house and unloaded the chainsaw, tarpaulins and other items which they used in Wailase.

Keidreli said Khan invited them to have dinner and a few beers which Khan had prepared for them.

During the cross examination of the state witness, defence counsel Mehboob Raza said there were several anomalies in Keidreli's evidence in court and his police statement.

Raza said that in his evidence in court Keidreli mentioned that in the meeting in Sabeto and Nausori, Naulago had led the briefings while in his police statement he said Mills led the briefings.

He also highlighted that Keidreli does not mention in his police statement that anyone had ever mentioned weapons at the meeting at FTA while in court he said otherwise.

Keidreli in response admitted that there may be things he said in court which he forgot to tell the interviewing officer.

The State witness said it could be that the police officer did not hear him during the interview or he may have forgotten to mention it.

Keidreli also admitted that he did not tell the police some of the things he had heard during the operations.

The 8 accused persons charged with conspiracy to murder Commodore Bainimarama, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and Mahendra Chaudhry are Naitasiri high chief Ratu Inoke Takiveikata, Feoko Gadekibau, Barbados Mills, Sivaniolo Naulago, Metuisela Mua, Eparama Waqatairewa, Kaminieli Vosavere and Pauliasi Ramulo.

The case continues.


Defence Counsel alleges collaboration - Feb 12 [Top]

Defence Counsel in the Conspiracy to Murder trial, Iqbal Khan has alleged that Military personnel who are state witnesses are collaborating their evidence after discussing details of the case outside the court house.

Late yesterday, Khan questioned the State witness, RFMF Intelligence Unit officer Auta Natuinivalu whether he talked to other soldiers outside court which the witness initially denied.

Khan then told Natuinivalu that he was seen to be talking to other soldiers at Albert Park after giving his evidence in court.

The witness then said yes, he was talking to other witnesses Peniasi Kuli, Kaidreli and Luke Toa but he maintained that it was not about the case.

Earlier this week, Khan also accused another witness Saula Lasagavibau of discussing his evidence with Peniasi Kuli alleging that he was told by Kuli what to say in his evidence.

The witness denied the allegations.

Meanwhile, during cross examination, Khan asked Natuinivalu of his primary objective when he joined Lance Corporal Peniasi Kuli's group.

Natuinivalu said his primary objective was to locate the missing weapons and to follow instructions from Kuli.

Khan then asked Natuinivalu that Kuli was the main boy and whether he had the authority in law to do what Kuli suggested to him to supporting the alleged plan to assassinate the Army Commander.

Natuinivalu told the court he was only asked by Kuli to assist and recover the missing weapons.

Khan then questioned Natuinivalu if Kuli had asked him to rob the bank would he do so?

There was no response from the state witness.

The 8 accused persons charged with conspiracy to murder Commodore Bainimarama, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and Mahendra Chaudhry are Naitasiri high chief Ratu Inoke Takiveikata, Feoko Gadekibau, Barbados Mills, Sivaniolo Naulago, Metuisela Mua, Eparama Waqatairewa, Kaminieli Vosavere and Pauliasi Ramulo.

The case resumes at 10am.


Plot was to be executed during Christmas 2007 - Feb 11 [Top]

A Military Intelligence Officer has told the Suva High Court this morning that the alleged plot to assassinate Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama and others was to be executed during the festive season in December 2007.

This was revealed by State witness Auta Natuinivalu who is currently being cross examined by Defence Counsel Mehboob Raza.

Natuinivalu told the court that one of the accused, Sivaniolo Naulago told him that the plan was to be executed during the Christmas period when all the soldiers would be on leave.

Upon questioning by Raza, Natuinivalu stated that his mission in the group was to recover the weapons which they believed were missing since the 1987 coup and they have been searching for ever since.

When questioned on what efforts were made to enquire where the weapons were, Natuinivalu responded they were told by one of the accused that the weapons will be bought, and the arrangements were to be made by businessman Ballu Khan.

He said no timeframe was given.

Natuinivalu said that he was surprised to hear of the arrest of the accused persons in November 2007 but he said he was not surprised that Lance Corporal Peniasi Kuli was also arrested as he was part of all the meetings that took place.

He told the court he did not contact Kuli after that.

Raza also questioned the witness on whether five to six men could attack the Military camp and take over the Armoury.

Natuinivalu said this could not be done and he did not know whether the others would have been involved.

Raza continues to highlight the discrepancies between Natuinivalu's police statement and his evidence in court regarding the exact time and days for the meetings that took place at that time.

Natuinivalu responded by saying that when he was giving his statement, he was questioned for about four hours and he was tired and just wanted to go home.

During the cross examination, Raza also questioned the witness on why his group leader Peniasi Kuli constantly reminded them of staying true to the RFMF.

Natuinivalu responded that Kuli kept stressing the point to them that they must remain true to the RFMF as in the past experience during the 2000 coup, some of the undercover military personnel who were in Parliament did not carry out the military's orders.

The cross examination continues.


State witness admits he received money - Feb 11 [Top]

State witness in the Conspiracy to Murder trial, RFMF Intelligence Unit's Officer Auta Natuinivalu has admitted while being cross examined in court this morning that he received money after an alleged meeting with two of the accused persons at the Fijian Teachers Association office.

While being questioned by lawyer Akuila Naco, Natuinivalu highlighted how after the meeting at FTA, his group walked down into Suva City and bought BBQ with money allegedly given to Lance Coporal Peniasi Kuli by accused Sivaniolo Naulago.

Natuinivalu told the court that he was then given $30 from the money given to Kuli.

Naco questioned the witness why he did not mention receiving the money in his police statement.

Natuinivalu replied that he was not asked about the money and only remembered that he was given the money when questioned on buying the BBQ that night.

Naco also put to Natuinivalu that he was never at the meeting at FTA.

However, the witness said he was at the meeting.

Natuinivalu was first cross examined by Mehboob Raza this morning.

He revealed during questioning that he was first introduced to accused persons, Sivaniolo Naulaga and Barbadoes Mills, at the meeting at FTA in September 2007.

Natuinivalu said Lance Corporal Kuli informed those at the meeting that he was from Vatukoula and would provide the explosives required to carry out the alleged assassination plot.

Raza also established that models were constructed of the RFMF's 3FIR Building, the Armory and Stand-By Unit where Natuinivalu and others used sticks as fake guns to carry out timed exercises in storming the buildings.

This exercise is alleged to have taken place at accused person, the Qaranivalu Ratu Inoke Takiveikata's land in Wailase.

Raza asked Natuinivalu on whether he had said in his police statement that Naulago mentioned "the boss" Ballu KHan was getting reluctant to go ahead with the alleged plan.

Natuinivalu answered that Naulago had said while they were in Wailase that things were not going well.

He also highlighted inconsistencies in Natuinivalu's police statement and his evidence in court regarding the time for the training exercise.

Mehboob Raza then put to the witness that there were no meetings held at the Naitasiri Provincial Council building in Nausori as claimed and that Kuli kept pestering and harassing Barbados Mills who resided at the premises.

The witness's evidence in court regarding the time of the meeting at FTA also did not concur with evidence given by other Intelligence Unit personnel in the trial.

Raza put to the witness that the only briefing they received from Naulago at the FTA meeting was improving the economic well-being of the Indigenous people but the witness maintained that plans to remove the current government were also discussed.

Raza also highlighted that Natuinivalu had said in his police statement that the plan was for the takeover of all Military installations and not just at Nabua including the army barracks in Labasa, Nadi, Lautoka and Nasinu.

However, the witness maintained that their task was only to take over the 3FIR.

The cross examination continues.


More RFMF officers to take witness stand - Feb 11 [Top]

The Conspiracy to Murder trial continued yesterday afternoon where RFMF Intelligence Agent Private Saula Lasagavibau was cross examined by Defence Counsel Iqbal Khan.

Khan asked Lasagavibau whether he knew about the alleged plan prior to the meeting in Sabeto where Lasagavibau had claimed the alleged plot was revealed in detail to them.

Lasagavibau said they were briefed about the alleged plot by Lance Corporal Peniasi Kuli prior to leaving for Sabeto which was to destabilize the government and they were to help Kuli gather more information relating to the alleged plan.

Khan then told Lasagavibau to talk about the meeting at Nausori which is alleged to have taken place at the roof top of the Naitasiri Provincial Council office.

Lasagavibau told the court that he could not recall the date but he was picked up with Kuli, Sevuloni Kaidreli and Luke Soa in a blue twin cab and was dropped off at a park in Nausori at about 5.30pm.

Lasagavibau said a total of 10 people were at the meeting where Barbedos Mills led the talks and reminded them that there was work to be done and they were to focus on the plan and the training exercise.

Khan asked Lasagavibau if Kuli said anything about the arms.

The reply was no as the witness said they were there to help gather information.

Khan questioned Lasagavibau whether the meeting at Nausori was to trap the accused persons by him and his team.

Lasagavibau said they only wanted to prevent the plan.

Yesterday, in his evidence, Lasagavibau had revealed that they were briefed by one of the accused, Sivaniolo Naulago at a farm house in Sabeto on the alleged assassination plot.

According to Lasagavibau, the briefing that they received from Naulago was that the alleged plan to assassinate the Army Commander and others was based on the utilization of the army to kill the Commander and to make Fiji a police state.

Lasagavibau then said that according to the alleged plan, there should be no more members of the RFMF once the assassination plot is carried out and that if there was a need for military back up, they would get the Australia and New Zealand army to assist them in the plan.

Lasagavibau mentioned that there were detailed plans from Naulago on how to secure the military installations especially the armory at the RFMF headquarters in Nabua.

He said the plans, also involved the granting of amnesty to those who would take part in the group.

The trial continues this morning.


3 prosecution witnesses appear in assassination trial - Feb 10 [Top]

Three prosecution witnesses appeared in the assassination plot trial earlier today as the prosecution tries to present evidence to prove that certain meetings occurred in 2007, which were aimed at conspiring to murder Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama and others.

President of the Fijian Teachers Association Tevita Koroi gave evidence that he received a call from one of the accused, Sivaniolo Naulago in September 2007, requesting Koroi to arrange a private meeting room for Naulago and a small group.

Koroi stated that he knew Naulago as the General Manager of Pacific Connex, who they were in consultations with to upgrade their IT system, and so he made some calls and arranged for them to use a room for their meeting.

State witness Lance Corporal Peniasi Kuli had said earlier in the trial that they had one meeting in September 2007 in a room at the FTA Hall at Knolly Street.

He revealed that the meeting started at 8pm, and he said in court that accused, Sivaniolo Naulago asked the three members of the Territorial Force Luke Soa, Saula Lasagavibau and Sevuloni Kaidreli and him, on the type of weapons they were going to use to execute the plan.

Kuli said they gave their ideas that M16s, silencers and AK47s were to be used.

Another witness who took the stand today was Anita Degei who is a Reservations and Sales Agent for the Sofitel Hotel.

She revealed that on October 26th, 2007, Ballu Khan, who had booked three rooms at the hotel, paid for the rooms and other bills.

She said Khan paid in cash after requesting that the expenses for the three rooms be put under his bill.

Lance Corporal Kuli had earlier said during his cross-examination that some meetings occurred at the Sofitel Hotel.

Makoi based van driver Hazel Khan gave evidence that he picked five men from RB Centerpoint in Laucala Beach on the morning of September 22nd, 2007 and took them to Nadi to watch the final of the Sanyo cup.

Khan revealed that he took the men to Sabeto before driving them to the game.

He said he returned soon after and that it will be difficult for him to identify any of the passengers on that day and that he never went to the Sofitel hotel.

The 8 accused persons charged with conspiracy to murder Commodore Bainimarama, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and Mahendra Chaudhry are Naitasiri high chief Ratu Inoke Takiveikata, Feoko Gadekibau, Barbados Mills, Sivaniolo Naulago, Metuisela Mua, Eparama Waqatairewa, Kaminieli Vosavere and Pauliasi Ramulo.

The case continues.


New witness takes stand - Feb 10 [Top]

A new witness who took the stand this morning to give evidence and details of the alleged plan to murder Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama and others, said the alleged plotters were planning to seek the assistance of the NZ and Australian Army if the need arose.

While giving evidence, an officer in the Military Intelligence Unit Saula Lasagavibau told the court that he was briefed by his fellow officer Lance Corporal Peniasi Kuli, in September 2007, that they were following an alleged plan by Ballu Khan's group to kill the Commander and others, and that they were to meet Khan's group in Nadi to get details of the plans and try to recover some of the weapons.

Lasagavibau said he accompanied Peniasi Kuli and two other officers to Nadi on the morning of September 22nd 2007.

Upon reaching Nadi, Lasagavibau said they went straight to the Sabeto junction, and from there they walked about 300 meters to a farm house which they believed belonged to one of the accused, Sivaniolo Naulago.

According to Lasagavibau, about 20 meters away from the farm house a green twin cab pulled up beside them, and he identified three of the accused persons Naulago, Barbados Mills and Feoko Gadekibau, were allegedly sitting in the vehicle.

Following that, Lasagavibau said they were taken to a corrugated iron and timber house on the farm, where he and his fellow officers were searched for any listening devices or cameras.

Lasagavibau then went on to say that after a brief lunch, one of the accused, Sivaniolo Naulago allegedly started to brief them on the alleged assassination plot, after he took out a white board and his laptop.

According to him, the briefing that they received from Naulago was that the alleged plan to assassinate the Army Commander and others was based on the utilization of the army to kill the Commander, and to make Fiji a police state.

Lasagavibau then said that according to the alleged plan, there should be no more members of the RFMF, once the assassination plot is carried out, and that if there was a need for military back up, they would get the Australia and New Zealand army to assist them in the plan.

Lasagavibau mentioned that there were detailed plans from Naulago on how to secure the military installations especially the armory at the RFMF headquarters in Nabua.

He said the plans, also involved the granting of amnesty to those who would take part in the group.

Lasagavibau said following the briefing that he received from one of the accused, they left the Sabeto Farm, and went on to Prince Charles Park in Nadi to watch the Sanyo Cup final between Naitasiri and Nadi after which they returned to Suva.

The 8 accused persons charged with conspiracy to murder are Naitasiri high chief Ratu Inoke Takiveikata, Feoko Gadekibau, Barbados Mills, Sivaniolo Naulago, Metuisela Mua, Eparama Waqatairewa, Kaminieli Vosavere and Pauliasi Ramulo.


Conspiracy murder case resumes tomorrow - Feb 09 [Top]

The Conspiracy to Murder trial will resume tomorrow where other prosecution witnesses will take the stand.

Present today in court were the 8 accused including the Qaranivalu Ratu Inoke Takiveikata, Feoko Gadekibau, Barbados Mills, Sivaniolo Naulago, Metuisela Mua, Eparama Waqatairewa, Kaminieli Vosavere and Pauliasi Ramulo.

Defence Counsel Iqbal Khan made an application saying that he wanted prosecution witness Major Isireli Narawa to be cross examined first as he had information that was crucial to the case.

While making his ruling on the application, Judge Justice Madigan said Narawa is sick for the next 4 days however the trial will proceed.

Justice Madigan said the hearing should proceed as the 8 accused have been waiting for some time and the cross-examination of Narawa can be done upon his return.

Khan accepted the ruling and asked for an adjournment as he needed time to instruct his 8 clients.

The 8 are charged with allegedly conspiring to murder Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and Former Finance Minister Mahendra Chaudhry.

The case will be recalled at 9am tomorrow.


Conspiracy murder case adjourned - Feb 08 [Top]

The conspiracy to murder case regarding Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama, former Finance Minister Mahendra Chaudhry and Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, has been adjourned to 9am tomorrow after the Suva High Court received word that the second State witness could not come in.

High Court Judge Justice Paul Madigan stood the matter down until later after State Counsel David Toganivalu told the court Major Isireli Narawa had informed them that he was sick.

Justice Maddigan expressed concern at the revelation and told Tonganivalu to check on the seriousness of Major Narawa's illness.

After finding out details, Toganivalu told Justice Maddigan that Major Narawa could not come as he was admitted in hospital.

The 8 accused persons charged with conspiracy to murder are Naitasiri high chief Ratu Inoke Takiveikata, Feoko Gadekibau, Barbados Mills, Sivaniolo Naulago, Metuisela Mua, Eparama Waqatairewa, Kaminieli Vosavere and Pauliasi Ramulo.


Second state witness questioned in state kill plot - Feb 05 [Top]

Questions were raised by a defense counsel as to why an operation report put together by the second state witness on the conspiracy to murder case, was not given when the DPP commenced the case.

State witness Major Isireli Narawa said in court that he had compiled a report on the plot to assassinate Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama, Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and Former Finance Minister Mahendra Chaudhry, based on information given to him by Lance Corporal Peniasi Kuli.

Narawa said he titled the report "Operation Snicker", which he kept on his laptop on the power point application, with the objective clearly noted that the operation was to infiltrate the Qaranivalu's group to get more information on the assassination plot and to locate the missing weapons.

Defense Counsel Mehboob Raza questioned Narawa if he could recall being asked to provide all exchange of minutes, correspondence, computer records made between himself and Lance Corporal Kuli, to the DPP, after the accused were first charged on the 3rd of November 2007.

Narawa replied that it was not his responsibility to know as it was up to the Military's Legal Department to know about such matters, however he did supply the reports to the police as they were handling the case.

Raza then asked Narawa if he was aware that the DPP had stated that notes made by Kuli and Narawa could not be obtained, as they were destroyed soon after the briefing was made due to the sensitivity of the information obtained.

Raza then questioned Narawa if that was the case then how is it possible that the report titled "Operation Snicker" is now being given as evidence in court.

Narawa replied that he provided all the information to police who were handling the case.

Narawa also said in court that it was after the 15th meeting held on 18th October 2007, when Lance Corporal Kuli gave the information that the Prime Minister, Attorney General and Former Finance Minister Mahendra Chaudhry were to be terminated, and it was after this, that he informed the Prime Minister, Commissioner of Police and the RFMF Chief of Staff of the plan.

Narawa said that only they were informed, due to the sensitivity of the case, and they could not go to police at that point in time as they did not know who could be trusted.

The trial continues on Monday.


State witness alleges Tora was to supply the weapons - Feb 04 [Top]

More information has been revealed during the cross examination in the conspiracy to murder case in relation to the supply of the weapons and explosives for the planned operation.

State witness Lance Corporal Peniasi Kuli in the trial for the 8 men charged with conspiracy to murder Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama, Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and former Finance Minister Mahendra Chaudhry, has alleged during cross-examination that the weapons which were to be used in the operation were to be supplied by former politician Apisai Tora.

Defence counsel Iqbal Khan asked Kuli where he got this information from and Kuli said that he heard it from one of the accused.

Khan then questioned Kuli about his statement to the police on the 11th of September, 2007 that one of the accused Barbados Mills and businessman Ballu Khan would provide the explosives.

Khan asked Kuli who gave him this information.

Lance Corporal Kuli replied that Mills did not tell him about the explosives but it was another accused, Sivaniolo Naulago.

Then questions were raised about a training operation in Naitasiri.

Khan asked Kuli who were at the training site at Wailase.

Kuli replied that he was with 4 men to do a dry run in relation to the plan.

Khan asked Kuli whether he accepted there were no weapons used in the training.

Kuli said it was only a practice session.

Meanwhile, Kuli said he attended 14 meetings with the accused to plan the assassination.

On to the next state witness:

State Counsel David Toganivalu asked the second State witness Major Isireli Narawa today to explain briefly about the meeting at Denarau with the accused, Qaranivalu Ratu Inoke Takiveikata in September 2007.

Major Narawa said in court that while he was on his way to Nadi with Lance Corporal Kuli and Sergeant Waqa for the meeting with Ratu Inoke, Kuli's phone rang and the person from the other end said that they were to meet first at Tanoa Hotel.

While reaching Tanoa, a vehicle was parked before them directing them to Sofitel.

From the reception, Major Narawa asked the receptionist to dial to Ratu Inoke's room, and the person who answered the phone in Ratu Inoke's room was Ballu Khan.

Narawa said Ratu Inoke confirmed this to him later.

Major Narawa said that Ratu Inoke told him about their plan and that he had the backing of the Vanua and setting up of the Interim Administration and to dethrone the Prime Minister.

Major Narawa told the court that Ratu Inoke told him he had approached a number of churches in Nabua, Kinoya, Cunningham and Wainivula and had planned rallies to be conducted.

State Counsel David Toganivalu asked Narawa who were those churches.

Narawa replied it was probably the Methodist churches.

Major Narawa said that Ratu Inoke told him that former politician Peceli Rinakama was out in the highlands gathering ex-military personnel for the cause.

Narawa said he was also told by Ratu Inoke that he was not worried about the arms because money was sent to New Zealand to purchase the arms and weapons.

Major Narawa said that Ratu Inoke asked him if could ask the Commander of 3FIR Colonel Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba Mara to lead the group.

Narawa told Ratu Inoke he will try his best.

Ratu Inoke also told Major Narawa he had the support of the International Embassies including NZ, Australia, USA and the British embassies and Ratu Inoke alleged that the Australian Embassy had given $1 million to kick-start the economy if something happens.

Major Narawa told Ratu Inoke that he had something in his mind, that if something happens he will be the first one to be taken to QEB and be killed.

Major Narawa later joined the group for kava.

He said that he spent the night at the RFMF in Nadi when Prime Minister Bainimarama called him and he briefed him about the meeting with the Qaranivalu.

He said Commodore Bainimarama, the then Chief of Staff Colonel Samuela Saumatua and the Commissioner of Police Commodore Esala Teleni were briefed on the plan by him.

The trial continues.


Cross-examination of state witness continues - Feb 04 [Top]

Defence counsels in the conspiracy to murder trial continued to cross-examine State witness Lance Corporal Peniasi Kuli at the Suva High Court yesterday.

One of the Defence Counsels is Iqbal Khan who is representing Naitasiri high chief Ratu Inoke Takiveikata who along with 7 others, has been charged with conspiracy to murder Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama, Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum and former Finance Minister Mahendra Chaudhry.

Khan asked Kuli to inform the court of the exact date of when the first meeting took place with Ratu Inoke, Kuli replied that he could not remember the exact date, but only recalled the month of which the meeting took place.

Khan then asked Kuli if he knew what the meaning of E.E.I. was, which refers to Essential Element of Information, and being an intelligence officer for 10 years, he told Kuli that he must know the exact date and time of when the first meeting took place.

In response to this, Kuli mentioned, a Sergeant Waqa who was his superior, would know the exact time and date, as he would report to him after the meetings had taken place.

Khan told Kuli to read his police statement which he had given on the 3rd of November 2007, and asked whether he had agreed with the statement where he stated to Ratu Inoke that the only option was to remove the Prime Minister.

Kuli replied that he did not state that, but it was Ratu Inoke who had told him that.

Khan then questioned as to how this is so, as Kuli's signature was on the statement which states that he had made the suggestion to remove Commodore Bainimarama.

Khan went on to ask Kuli if there was any mention of the Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, and former Finance Minister Mahendra Chaudhry during the very first meeting.

Kuli said there was no mention of the two until the second meeting.

Khan then asked Kuli to inform the court of what happened in the second meeting, and if there was any mention that the Attorney General and Former Finance Minister were going to be shot, to which Kuli replied that he could not recall.

Khan asked Kuli if he told Sergeant Waqa about the plan to shoot the AG and Chaudhry, Kuli said he did.

Khan asked Kuli if he could recall the date of the third meeting, Kuli said he could not recall the date however he did remember that it took place in Toorak, during the day.

Khan continues cross-examination today.


State witness reveals methods of assassination - Feb 03 [Top]

State witness Lance Corporal Peniasi Kuli during cross examination today revealed how while tasked to recover missing weapons from the 1987 and 2000 coups, he uncovered the assassination plot to kill Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama.

Defense counsel Mehboob Raza questioned Kuli as to what his role was in the military, to which he replied that in the Intelligence Unit, he was tasked to recover the missing weapons.

Kuli said in court that after reading an advertisement of Ratu Inoke Takiveikata for a national invitation for reconciliation, and for people to come together, he was concerned that the article would have created instability as he interpreted the call to come together as a sign of going against the government.

Kuli said that he assumed that Ratu Inoke knew where the missing weapons would be as his interpretation of the advertisement which was to create instability would require the use of weapons.

He also said that he was concerned as there seemed to be a hidden agenda and a selected few would benefit from going against the government.

Raza then asked Kuli if the selected few meant Ratu Inoke and Ballu Khan, to which Kuli replied yes.

Raza then asked Kuli if he was aware that a Jone Naulu, who was an IT expert with the Military's Intelligence Unit, was placed in Ballu Khan's company Pacific Connex as a mole, as the military had suspected that there were corrupt practices happening within the company, to which Kuli replied that it was not his responsibility to know, as his job was to look for weapons.

Raza then asked Kuli if he was aware that Ratu Inoke was also a director of Pacific Connex, to which Kuli said he was not aware.

Raza then questioned Kuli if he was aware that on the 1st of December 2006, Ballu Khan wrote to Captain Esala Teleni of the RFMF expressing concern that the military was telling them to shut down the company.

Kuli said in court that he was not aware as his main role was still to look for the missing weapons.

Raza asked Kuli if the assassination allegation was just an excuse to investigate Ratu Inoke's involvement in the company, to which Kuli replied that he was not aware of the Pacific Connex investigations as he remained firm in trying to locate the missing weapons.

Meanwhile, Kuli said in court earlier today that some of the ways that were put forward as a way to carry out the assassination was to poison the Prime Minister's food and drink, to try and attempt to execute a head on collision vehicle accident involving the Prime Minister's vehicle, or to use a sniper gun to shoot the Prime Minister.

Lance Corporal Kuli said these suggestions were made as Ballu Khan had allegedly wanted some ideas during the meeting.

The accused persons in the conspiracy to murder case include Naitasiri high chief Ratu Inoke Takiveikata, Feoko Gadekibau, Barbados Mills, Sivaniolo Naulago, Metuisela Mua, Eparama Waqatairewa, Kaminieli Vosavere and Pauliasi Ramulo.

The trial continues.


Defence questions witness on no record of dates - Feb 03 [Top]

The trial of the 8 men facing the charge of conspiracy to murder Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama, Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and former Finance Minister Mahendra Chaudhry continued today in the High Court as the defense counsel started cross-examining state witness Lance Corporal Peniasi Kuli on why there was no record of the dates of the alleged meetings that took place between the accused and himself.

Defense counsel Mehboob Raza questioned Lance Corporal Peniasi Kuli as to why in all of the 4 statements given to police, on the 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th of November 2007 were there no mention of the specific dates of the meetings that allegedly took place to plot the assassination of the Prime Minister.

The accused persons include Naitasiri high chief Ratu Inoke Takiveikata, Feoko Gadekibau, Barbados Mills, Sivaniolo Naulago, Metuisela Mua, Eparama Waqatairewa, Kaminieli Vosavere and Pauliasi Ramulo.

Lance Corporal Peniasi Kuli said in court that recalling the dates of the meetings was not his main concern at that point in time, as his main focus was to inform his superiors of the plan which was in place to execute the Prime Minister.

He said in court that some of the ways that were put forward as a way to carry out the assassination was to poison the Prime Minister's food and drink, to try and attempt to execute a head on collision vehicle accident involving the Prime Minister's vehicle, or to use a sniper gun to shoot the Prime Minister.

Lance Corporal Kuli said in court that these suggestions were made as Ballu Khan had allegedly wanted some ideas during the meeting.

The case continues this hour before Judge Justice Paul Madigan.

Defence Counsel Mehboob Raza is currently cross-examining Kuli.


Witness reveals secret meetings - Feb 03 [Top]

State witness Lance Corporal Peniasi Kuli in the trial for the 8 men charged with conspiracy to murder Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama, Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and former Finance Minister Mahendra Chaudhry, has revealed a few more meetings he had with the accused persons.

Lance Corporal Peniasi Kuli said they had one meeting in September 2007 in a room at the FTA Hall at Knolly Street.

He revealed that the meeting started at 8pm, and he said in court that one of the accused, Sivaniolo Naulago, asked the three members of the Territorial Force, Luke Soa, Saula Lasagavibau and Sevuloni Kaidreli and him, on the type of weapons they were going to use to execute the plan.

Kuli said they gave their ideas that M16s, Silencers and AK47s were to be used.

Lance Corporal Kuli said Naulago had briefed the 4 that the task was to be done properly and gave them $200 which Kuli shared amongst the four of them.

Kuli also recalled that some people from Naitasiri were drinking grog at the FTA Hall while they were meeting in the room.

He said on the following day while he was on his way to the village, another accused, Barbados Mills called him to meet with accused Kaminieli Vosavere at the Suva foreshore.

Kuli said that Vosavere told him that he has the mentality of an Army officer so they have to work together.

Kuli recalled in court that their next meeting was at the Naitasiri Provincial Council office where they planned to train the boys at Waidina for the operation.

The accused persons include Naitasiri high chief Ratu Inoke Takiveikata, Feoko Gadekibau, Barbados Mills, Sivaniolo Naulago, Metuisela Mua, Eparama Waqatairewa, Kaminieli Vosavere and Pauliasi Ramulo.

Lance Corporal Peniasi Kuli said in court that a meeting was hosted by the Qaranivalu Ratu Inoke Takiveikata, where he was told to bring his lot of boys to the next meeting in Sabeto.

Kuli said after the meeting at Toorak, Ballu Khan gave him $60 to buy a recharge card and keep in touch all the time.

Kuli said a day before the meeting in Sabeto, Mills called him to meet him at his sister's home at Nailuva Road.

Kuli remembered that Feoko Gadekibau, one of the accused, came to pick him up in one of Ballu Khan's vehicles.

Kuli said Mills encouraged him and told him that they had to stick to the plan.

Kuli said Mills also gave him $170 to pay for his fare and his boys' fare to Sabeto.

Kuli also talked with three members of the Territorial Force and told them about the plan to kill the Commander and dethrone the military government.

The case continues this hour before Judge Justice Paul Madigan.

Defense Counsel Akuila Naco is currently cross-examining Kuli.


First state witness takes stand - Feb 03 [Top]

The first State witness Lance Corporal Peniasi Kuli who took the stand yesterday in the trial for the 8 men charged with conspiracy to murder Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama, Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and former Finance Minister Mahendra Chaudhry, revealed a few meetings he had with the accused persons.

The accused persons include Naitasiri high chief Ratu Inoke Takiveikata, Feoko Gadekibau, Barbados Mills, Sivaniolo Nailago, Metuisela Mua, Eparama Waqatairewa, Kaminieli Vosavere and Pauliasi Ramulo.

Lance Corporal Peniasi Kuli said in court that a meeting was hosted by the Qaranivalu Ratu Inoke Takiveikata where he was told to bring his lot of boys to the next meeting in Sabeto.

Kuli said after the meeting at Toorak, Ballu Khan gave him $60 to buy a recharge card and keep in touch all the time.

Kuli said a day before the meeting in Sabeto, Mills called him to meet him at his sister's home at Nailuva Road.

Kuli remembered that Feoko Gadekibau, one of the accused, came to pick him up in one of Ballu Khan's vehicles.

Kuli said Mills encouraged him and told him that they had to stick to the plan.

Kuli said Mills also gave him $170 to pay for his fare and his boys' fare to Sabeto.

Kuli also talked with three members of the Territorial Force and told them about the plan to kill the Commander and dethrone the military government.

They agreed and promised to help him with gathering information as they thought it was a worthy cause, because they wanted to protect the nation.

Kuli said three members of the Territorial Force were Luke Soa, Saula Lasagavibau and Sevuloni Kaidreli.

Kuli said while he and the boys were on their way to Sabeto, Mills called and told them once they reached the Sabeto junction, the three were to get off the van and walk to Sivaniolo Nailago's farm.

He said when they reached the farm, Mills and Feoko searched them to check if they had any devices on them.

The boys were then welcomed on board.

Kuli said Sivaniolo brought his laptop and told the boys that the plan was to eradicate the military and Fiji is to be declared a Police State and if there was any trouble, then the New Zealand and Australian Army would be called.

Kuli said after the meeting at Sabeto, they had lunch then headed down to Prince Charles Park to watch a Naitasiri vs Nadi match that was on.

Ballu Khan paid for the tickets.

The case will continue at 9 this morning where Defence Counsel Akuila Naco is expected to start his cross examination.


Assassination trial gets underway - Feb 02 [Top]

The trial for the 8 men charged with conspiracy to murder Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama, Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and former Finance Minister Mahendra Chaudhry is now underway with the first state witness taking the stand before High Court judge Justice Paul Madigan.

The accused persons include Naitasiri high chief Ratu Inoke Takiveikata, Feoko Gadekibau, Barbados Mills, Sivaniolo Nailago, Metuisela Mua, Eparama Waqatairewa, Kaminieli Vosavere and Pauliasi Ramulo.

In court today, Justice Madigan ruled that a name suppression application order which was filed by the State on Friday, be refused.

Justice Madigan ruled that the names of the witnesses be revealed as the matter is being heard in open court.

The first state witness Lance Corporal Peniasi Kuli then took the stand.

State lawyer David Toganivalu first asked Lance Corporal Peniasi Kuli about a meeting at Muanikau in September, 2007.

Kuli said he went with Ratu Inoke Takiveikata on that day but did not know that they were going to the house of businessman Ballu Khan.

Kuli said when they arrived at the house, the CRW boys were working there.

He identified Vosavere, Waqatairewa and Ramulo.

Kuli said as they sat inside the house, Khan's wife Agnes prepared tea for Ratu Inoke, Khan and himself.

Kuli said in court that in the meeting they discussed plans to arrest Commodore Bainimarama.

Kuli said he then suggested to Ratu Inoke and Ballu Khan that the prime minister was to be arrested when he does his exercise.

Kuli said Ratu Inoke Takiveikata had allegedly told them that their plan was to bring down the military government.

Lance Corporal Kuli said he agreed to their plan and after having tea, he went with Ratu Inoke and got off in Suva.

He also revealed to State lawyer Toganivalu that after two days, another meeting was held at the Qaranivalu's house in Toorak.

Lance Corporal Kuli said Barbados Mills called him to say that his plan would be shelved.

Kuli said in the meeting, Ballu Khan had allegedly said that the plan was to kill Bainimarama and to arrest members of the Military Council.

Toganivalu then asked Kuli to reveal in court who all were in the meeting.

Kuli said Ballu Khan, Ratu Inoke Takiveikata, Barbados Mills and Sivaniolo Naulago were present.

He also revealed that Ratu Inoke had told them that there was another meeting in Sabeto on the weekend where some of the people of Naitasiri and Nadi would meet to discuss the plan.

The trial continues tomorrow as defence lawyer Akuila Naco needs more time to prepare himself.


 
 

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