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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Jan. 10) – Fiji’s military says its ongoing standoff with the government has been caused by the state’s support for high chiefs involved in the coup.

The Fiji Sun reports that the military has issued an 8-page statement challenging the Attorney General’s Office, the Finance Ministry and the Public Service Commission to explain how a state prisoner continues to collect a pension.

The statement says the premature release of former vice president Seniloli was a concern and does not auger well for the criminal justice system.

The military is questioning "the manner and process that was secretively employed to arrive at such a controversial decision."

Its statement says Seniloli should have resigned to serve his sentence on his conviction for taking an illegal oath to become the usurper president during the coup.

The military says the Public Service Commission should have certified that being a convicted prisoner, Seniloli was not eligible for a state pension.

Seniloli held on to the office of vice president and received its salary while in prison until late November.

On his release under a Compulsory Supervision Order he resigned and now collects a tax-free vice-presidential pension.

January 12, 2005

Radio New Zealand International:



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