ACCUSED FIJI CHIEF ASKS VILLAGERS FOR CASH

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, Oct. 26) – Villagers in Fiji’s Naitasiri province have been asked to raise funds for the defense of their paramount chief, who is on trial on mutiny charges.

Radio Legend reports that the 16 district chiefs of Naitasiri have asked their people to give at least $1 each.

Their spokesman, Ratu Inoke Tuisese, says all the chiefs have agreed to help Ratu Inoke Takiveikata to pay his legal bill.

Takiveikata is facing four counts of inciting mutiny and one count of aiding soldiers in an act of mutiny which claimed eight lives and caused more than 30 injuries.

In an application two weeks ago to have the trial adjourned, it was disclosed that Takiveikata was trying to secure a US$60,000 loan to pay his Australian lawyer, Gabriel Wendler, before he would come to Fiji.

The High Court was told that the Native Lands Trust Board would guarantee the loan because Takiveikata’s income from his share of land lease monies was in excess of this account.

Legal arguments to start the trial took place last week but are currently adjourned because Mr Wendler has returned to Sydney for another case.

October 27, 2004

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

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