LIGAIRI SAID RABUKA AND SAVUA HAD COUP CONNECTIONS: DEPOSED FIJI PM CHAUDHRY

SUVA, Fiji Islands (April 30, 2001 - FijiLive)---Deposed Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry says coup leader George Speight’s head of security, Major Ilisoni Ligairi, had told him days before they were released that Police Commissioner Isikia Savua and former Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka had something to do with George Speight’s attempted coup on May 19 last year.

Chaudhry was commenting on former President Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara’s statement that he had told Rabuka and Savua "you two had a hand in this" on May 20 in the presence of former army commander Ratu Epeli Ganilau.

He said it was no wonder that investigations into the coup had stalled and it was important that Savua was removed as commissioner.

Chaudhry said the recent revelations would lead one to question the findings of the inquiry in Savua conducted by the Chief Justice, Sir Timoci Tuivaga.

"My assessment is the same as his," Ganilau had earlier told FM96. "I believe he had a purpose in getting me to stay on as a witness."

Asked about the two’s reaction, Mara said: "You could see it on their faces." He said Rabuka said something about being at the army camp on May 14, the anniversary of the 1987 coup.

Rabuka had called him on the day of the coup, saying he was ready to help. He had asked him to see him later that day.

Savua, he said, was at a meeting with Speight’s security man, Major Ilisoni Ligairi, and Jioji Konrote, the permanent secretary for Home Affairs on the Thursday before the march, but he didn’t see a heavy police presence at Parliament or on the streets during the march.

Mara said the police should have known what was going to happen through their intelligence.

Both Rabuka and Savua have denied being behind Speight’s attempted coup. Rabuka has said his involvement was restricted to that as mediator. He said Mara’s comments were linked to reports given to him that said Rabuka met the CRW soldiers on May 14 and that some of them had trained on his farm in Cakaudrove.

Savua said he was not involved. "I will never support a coup."

He said a lot of things were promised for Fijians when the 1987 coup was staged, but "nothing much has happened. I was in the army when the 1987 coup was carried out and I have seen what the coup has done."

The Public Service Commission has said there would be no further investigations into Savua who was cleared after the Tuivaga inquiry.

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