The majority of businessmen in Fiji including diplomats showed their support to Naitasiri paramount chief Ratu Inoke Takiveikata in the plot to assassinate the Prime Minister, the High Court in Suva heard today.
The revelation was made by Ratu Inoke himself while taking the stand in the trial where he and seven others are accused of plotting to assassinate the PM and members of his Cabinet.
Ratu Inoke said this information was relayed to him by Major Isireli Narawa, a State witness.
He recalled receiving a request from Narawa for a meeting at the Sofitel Hotel in Nadi while he was there to meet the chairman of the Ba Provincial council.
“Narawa told me they were ready to carry out the assassination and asked me to approach the New Zealand and Australian High Commissions to ask their assistance for weapons,” he told the court.
Rt Inoke said he had asked Narawa to leave instantly as he did not wish to be a part of any conspiracy.
Defence counsel, Akuila Naco asked him what his relationship was with the Government and the military to which he replied that he and his business partner, Ballu Khan always wanted to maintain a good relationship with them.
Rt Inoke said “We even put an advertisement in the newspaper on September 3 that we wished to hold talks with the Military Commander after facing a number of military interventions in our company; Pacific Connex Limited.”
This morning Justice Paul Madigan dismissed charges of the second and third counts laid against the eight on grounds that the evidence produced by the prosecution were “ambiguous” in relation to the charges of conspiracy to murder.
Ratu Inoke Takiveikata, Feoko Gadekibau, Barbadoes Mills, Metuisela Mua, Sivaniolo Naulago, Eperama Waqatairewa, Kaminieli Vosavere and Pauliasi Ramulo are now free on charges that they conspired to murder Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and Mahendra Chaudhry.
The first count still stands and that is the plan to assassinate the Army Commander.
Claim of military intervention
Thursday, February 25, 2010
ONE of the accused in the conspiracy trial, Ratu Inoke Takiveikata, told the High Court he often met Ballu Khan at his residence because the military had raided their office (Pacific Connex) and confiscated computers.
Ratu Inoke said in 2007 the military had intervened in the running of Pacific Connex.
Ratu Inoke made the comment in his trial on the charge of conspiracy to assassinate Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama.
Ratu Inoke said staff members of the company were also taken up to the camp for questioning. They including his co-accused.
“I believe this was because the company started during the SDL Government,” he said. “The Government approved a licence to operate.”
When questioned by lawyer Akuila Naco on whether it was correct to say there was constant intervention by the military, Ratu Inoke replied: “Yes”.
He said that in September 2007, the company set a plan to promote a good relationship with the military.
He said an advertisement for national reconciliation was published in the newspapers to talk with military commander.
“The reason I did that was because this company worked under the umbrella of the Fijian Affairs and Pacific Connex is partner the Vanua Development which is owned by landowners