MEDICAL RECORDS MISSING IN EARLY RELEASE OF SENILOLI

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, Feb. 22) - A medical report on the basis of which former Fiji Vice President Ratu Jope Seniloli was granted a Compulsory Supervision Order [freeing him from prison] in 2004 is missing.

This was revealed by the interim Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum in a press conference this afternoon.

Sayed-Khaiyum said an investigation would be carried out to determine whether the medical certificate was obtained properly.

"Should any impropriety be revealed, the appropriate authorities will be notified," he said.

He said the High Court had already made a declaration that there was a perception of bias on the part of the then Attorney General Qoriniasi Bale when deciding to release Ratu Jope on CSO.

In August 2004, Ratu Jope the then vice president was convicted by the High Court for taking an unlawful oath in 2000 coup front man George Speight's government.

Ratu Jope was sentenced to four years imprisonment.

Sayed-Khaiyum said that his appeal to the Fiji Court of Appeal against this conviction and sentence was dismissed on 11 November in the same year.

On November 26, 2004 (about three months since the conviction), Bale authorized his release on a CSO on medical grounds.

Sayed-Khaiyum said that Bale purported to act on a medical report that he had obtained for this purpose.

"To date thus medical report has not been made available to any person. Unfortunately it cannot be located and is now missing from the records kept by Ministry of Justice," he said.

Sayed-Khaiyum added that there had been widespread condemnation of this decision to release Ratu Jope from prison, especially when he had committed a serious offence and had only served few months of his sentence.

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