FIJI CABINET SECRETARY SHEDS NEW LIGHT ON DOCUMENT DESTRUCTION

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SUVA, Fiji Islands (June 11, 1999 - Radio Australia)---Fiji's Secretary to cabinet, Jioji Kotobalavu says so-called files allegedly shredded at the Prime Minister's office during last month's elections, were actually scrap pieces of paper.

He was replying to claims that a Fiji Intelligence Service Officer shredded files at the Prime Minister's office before Mahendra Chaudhry took up office.

As Ofa Kaukimoce reports from Suva, a media organization has been taken to task over the issue.

"Speaking to the media and specifically to a Fiji One Television Crew, Kotobalavu said the issue was blown out of proportion. The crew took shots of papers being destroyed reportedly by a Fiji Intelligence Services Officer."

"They had also questioned Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry whether any files were missing from his office. At a news conference this week Chaudhry told the Fiji One Crew that he was interested in their video tape recording of the incident in question and was willing to investigate further."

"Kotabalavu, meanwhile has barred Fiji One journalists from the cabinet office next to the Prime Minister."

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