CHIEF JUSTICE, MAGISTRATE ON LEAVE PENDING PROBE

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, Jan. 3) - Fiji’s military regime has sent the Chief Justice and Chief Magistrate on leave pending investigations into the May 2000 coup.

Military commander Voreqe Bainimarama told a press conference in Suva this afternoon that Justice Daniel Fatiaki and Naomi Lomaiviti agreed to go on leave on full pay until further notice.

Bainimarama said Fatiaki and Lomaiviti have agreed to take leave following numerous complaints that the military received of corruption and irregularities in the judicial system.

He said the regime was looking at Justice John Connors and Justice Anthony Gates to act as chief justice while Magistrate Ajmal Khan was being considered as acting Chief Magistrate.

"Their absence from office is necessary to facilitate a full, proper and unrestricted enquiry into the Judiciary and the judicial system as a whole," Bainimarama said. "The RFMF has always maintained that a truly independent, clean, non corrupt and efficient judicial system is essential and integral to the maintenance of the rule of law."

He also maintained that the absence of the Chief Justice and Chief magistrate would not deter the service of the judiciary as it will continue to provide service to the public unaffected.

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