DEPOSED FIJI GOVERNMENT MEMBERS SUE

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SUVA, Fiji Islands (August 17, 2000 - FM96, Navtarang, Viti FM/PINA Nius Online)---Members of the deposed People's Coalition Government have sued the former President, his successor, the Fiji Military Forces commander, the interim Attorney General and the Chief Justice.

They issued writ proceedings in the Lautoka High Court yesterday saying the five unlawfully abrogated the 1997 Constitution and unlawfully dismissed the People's Coalition Government. The writ has so far been issued to the Chief Justice, Sir Timoci Tuivaga, and the Attorney General, Alipate Qetaki.

Commodore Frank Bainimarama has yet to be served because he was attending the funeral of slain soldier Private Joela Weleilakeba, who died in a shoot out with rebels last Tuesday.

Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara is in Hawai‘i and tight security at Ratu Josefa Iloilo's residence has meant his papers could not be served as well.

Meanwhile, the People's Coalition group has also submitted a proposal to the Pacific African, Caribbean Pacific (ACP) ministerial delegation currently in Fiji. They have called on the ACP and the European Union to suspend the trade and development agreements. The People's Coalition says they should follow procedures which are consistent with the EU and ACP articles.

The former Mahendra Chaudhry government has also suggested to the delegation that the interim government of Laisenia Qarase cannot restore democracy and they still want to be part of the Government of National Unity.

Mr. Chaudhry and his government were removed from office after being taken hostage in the May 19 takeover of parliament by armed rebels.

In other Fiji developments:

* The Fiji Retailers Association is happy with the new investment incentives that have been proposed by the interim government. President Lodhia says it will definitely be acceptable to a lot of potential business people who intend to invest in Fiji. Mr. Lodhia says that incentives like the proposed reduction in the company's taxes will boost confidence and lure investors.

* The Fiji Sugar Corporation says it has recorded satisfactory overall sugar production to date. Chief Executive Jonetani Galuinadi says fair cane supply to the mills has been maintained after much improvement at the mills.

He says the performance of the Lautoka, Labasa and Penang mills were satisfactory and high outputs were achieved for the week. Rarawai Mill experienced some plant related problems, which are being addressed at present, and normal operations are expected to resume soon.

Galuinadi says the second sugar shipment is on its way to Malaysia. "The MV Sea Maestro left our shores Monday. Our next shipment," he added, "is to be loaded from Lautoka terminal on Saturday heading for the United Kingdom."

* The Fiji Electricity Authority warned of extended power cuts and irregular power supply. FEA engineers say their attempt to supply constant high power demands has led to this problem. The demand in Suva alone is more than twice what the FEA standby generators can supply. Most factories, especially garment manufacturers, have taken to operating at nights, causing an even higher power demand.

The Fiji Electricity Authority has clearance to resume work at the Monasavu dam. Acting Chief Executive Nizam ud-Dean says inspection will begin with a team working on the site. Ud-Dean says he's received reports that staff quarters in Monasavu were destroyed by rebels. FEA personnel's were told to go up to the hydroelectric dam after the military said it was safe to work there again after regaining control. Yesterday's work on the Wailoa Power Station was based in its power switchyard. He would not elaborate on the cost of damage done to the plant.

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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