FIRED FIJI AIR SERVICE OFFICIAL UNDER ARREST

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SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, July 6) - The Nadi Court has remanded sacked Strategic Air Services Ltd managing director Watisoni Nata in custody.

Nata pleaded not guilty to charges of forcible entry and office breaking, entry and larceny, when he appeared in court yesterday.

Nadi Magistrate Syed Mukhtar Shah kept Nata in custody after State prosecutor Kevueli Tunidau told the court that Nata's recent actions were of national concern.

Tunidau, the assistant director of public prosecutions, objected to the bail application saying that incoming flights from overseas were disrupted on Tuesday.

He said since the Queen's only daughter would arrive in the country tonight, there should not be any disruption of any sort.

Tunidau said Nata was also likely to influence other elements who were yet to be questioned by police.

His lawyer Faizal Koya applied for bail on the grounds that Nata needed to discuss one of his cases with him.

Koya assured the court that Nata would abide by any bail condition set by the court.

But Shah opted to instead order the prison authorities to allow Koya to visit his client in jail.

It is alleged that Nata went to the SASL office in Nadi with a mob of about 20 men on Tuesday.

He allegedly broke into the office and stole files containing aviation document valued at FJ$500, three suitcases valued FJ$450 [US$258], a photo laminator worth FJ$250 [US$143.5], hardware and electrical items worth FJ$300 [US$172] and one trash machine valued at FJ$420 [US$241].

The items belonged to Airports Fiji Limited.

A large crowd believed to be Nata's supporters gathered outside the court complex in Nadi when the case was called.

Police also beefed up security around the court premises.

Assistant Police Commissioner Operations Samuela Matakibau confirmed that security measures around the airport were also stepped up because of the incident.

Matakibau said 20 officers were sent to the scene after Airports Fiji Limited approached police for assistance.

He said the officers would be at the airport for a week before the situation was reviewed.

July 7, 2006

Fiji Times Online: http://www.fijitimes.com

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