(o) Assassination Plot Update 1.3.10
Last week closed with the last witnesses called. Tomorrow Tuesday defence or prosecution defence lawyers will make their concluding remarks.The following reports were published late last week.
David Robie's blog Cafe Pacific, reporting the dropping of charges of conspiracy to murder Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and Mahendra Chaudhry because of "ambiguous" evidence, writes:
"Ironically, the Citizens’ Constitutional Forum today also issued a statement calling on the regime to take urgent action over the independence of the judiciary. Reverend Akuila Yabaki, director of the CCF, called on the government to invite the UN Special Rapporteurs on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers to visit Fiji as soon as possible."
The charge of conspiracy to murder Bainimarama still stands.
Ratu Inoke takes the witness stand.
Accused Barbados Mills gives evidence
Former Counter Revolutionary Warfare soldier Barbados Mills said his involvement in the alleged assassination plot against Army Commander Voreqe Bainimarama was because he was under threat from the military, “whether we took part or not, we’d face the full brunt of the military”. Mills today told the court that State witness Corporal Peniasi Kuli initiated the plot to kill the PM and members of his Cabinet, not his group.
Mills said in one of their meetings, he asked Kuli what weapons they were going to use in the assassination and Kuli gave a verbal list. “I was at the meeting because I wanted to see what he was up to. I wanted to see what was going to happen. “It was never my intention to join him in his plan,” Mills told the court. He said he never once called Corporal Kuli. “Kuli was always calling me. He was harassing me, pushing me for this execution plan to go ahead,” he said.
Mills said he never trained with Kuli and his group at Wailase, Naitasiri. State prosecutor David Toganivalu suggested that Mills had trained Kuli and his men to take over the 3FIR, to which he said, no.“Thirteen skilled CRW tried to take over the army camp but couldn’t. These guys are not skilled, it would be a bloodbath,” he said. He added that the 3FIR was the most dangerous place in the military, the most populated and well-armed and it would not be possible for a small group to do it. Mills said that even though he was only 15 metres away he could not kill the Commodore because "it was not his orders." He was ordered to secure the Officer’s Mess [and] "when orders are given, we follow them. The legality of orders are the responsibility of my superiors."
Mills also claimed the assassination plot came within the Military Council because they "didn’t like the way Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama was running the government, as he was taking it in a direction different from what the Council wanted." He was told this by Kuli who mentioned Major Isireli Narawa. Mills also denied all allegations that he called Kuli up to hold the 14 meetings to discuss about the plot.
He told the court the only reason he was tolerating Kuli was because he was trying to find a solution to try and diffuse the situation because the former CRW soldiers were being watched and threatened by the Military. He has not reported the meetings "because he had lost faith in the Police Force."
Sivaniolo Naulago gives evidence
Naulago, the General Manager of Ballu Khan's Pacific Connex, claimed military officers who assaulted them during their arrest were making racist comments against Ballu Khan and claimed in court of constant harassment by the Fiji Military Forces after the events of December 5th 2006.His co-accused were hired to work as Security guards for Ballu Khan.