The military commander Frank Bainimarama had allegedly agreed to strike a power sharing deal with the 2000 coup leader George Speight.
Former Military Spokesperson, Lieutenant Colonel Filipo Tarakinikini has made reference to this deal in his resignation letter to Bainimarama six years ago. In the letter, obtained by One National News, Tarakinikini says other senior military officers had refused to surrender the nation to rebels.
Former Military Spokesperson Lt Colonel Filipo Tarakinikini was the military’s face in 2000. He was the only Military officer who was allowed in Parliament in 2000 to meet directly with the than coup leader George Speight, most of this discussions were held behind closed doors, what transpired then, no-one really knew – until today.
This is Lt.Colonel Tarakinikini’s three page resignation letter to the RFMF, sent to the Army Commander Frank Bainimarama and it’s dated 27th of February 2002.
The outspoken officer makes reference to his personal contributions in the May 2000 crisis. He says God only knows the efforts of some senior officers and I to regain the confidence of the nation in RFMF and to press on for the safe release of the hostages during the darkest hours of the crisis.
Lt Col Tarakinikini writes Even when you agreed to a power-sharing deal with George Speight and his group, another senior officer and myself during the officers meeting the next morning refused to surrender the nation and told you to call off your agreement.
He goes on to say…Having faced much more difficult operational situations overseas we were confident we would find a way out, and we did at Muanikau.
He adds the RFMF’s sole purpose was to free the national leaders – Lt Col Tarakinikini wrote quote our job as their servants is to be accountable to them, as our political masters and the law. That is what democracy is all about. Unquote
He then writes about his relationship with the military commander saying “I leave RFMF disappointed, sadly the professional ethics and moral values have in a short space of time become hardly recognizable. We have clearly lost the high moral ground.”
He continues there is no way that the nation can go forward towards national reconciliation and enduring peace and security that all citizens aspire to until the RFMF regains that high moral ground.
Lt Col Tarakinikini then refers to a phone conversation he had with Bainimarama.
He writes “After our telephone conversation a few weeks ago you categorically stated that a full public commission of Inquiry into the RFMF and it’s failures prior to and during the May 2000 coup is irrelevant.”
“It appears to me therefore that your agenda against me is personal one and that the investigation presently conducted in RFMF by you is a discriminatory and selective means to frame and purge those professional officers including myself, who question your command ethics.” “The regimental Fund that you are refusing to allow the Auditor General to look into is only an example.”
That telephone conversation, Tarakinikini revealed in this letter ended abruptly. “When you slammed the phone on me in the middle of our conversation I felt that even simple discourtesies have helped erode some of the affections I had for that august office which all members of the RFMF looked up to.”
“It confirmed once again the message that you have been implying since taking office that there is no place for me in the RFMF as long as you’re in command.”
A copy of Lt.Colonel Tarakinikinis resignation letter has been sent to the Military Spokesperson Major Neumi Leweni earlier this afternoon.
Major Leweni who is currently in Pacific Harbour had confirmed receiving the letter but has not been able to issue a statement when this bulletin was prepared.