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Spokesman denies reported $400,000

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, May 31, 2011) - The Fiji interim government has responded to claims by a former senior military officer who says the interim prime minister’s annual salary is FJ$700,000, or US$400,000.

The claim was made by a co-conspirator of the 2006 coup, Lieutenant Colonel Tevita Uluilakeba Mara, who fled to Tonga after being charged with sedition.

The Information Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Sharon Smith-Johns, has told FBC News that Commodore Bainimarama is not even getting anything close to that sum.

However, Ms. Smith-Johns didn’t say what his taxpayer-funded salary is.

She also says the government will no longer go over the rumours to justify his pay.

Meanwhile, Matangi Tonga reports that the Fiji president’s wife, Adi Koila Nailatikau Mara, has been in Nuku’alofa for the Queen Mother’s birthday.

Adi Koila is one of Colonel Mara’s sisters.

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