Ratu Mara's Latest Accusation: The Evolution of his Phonetapping Story
|Internet spy technology|
Hi, I spoke to the former Fiji army colonel Tevita Mara this morning.
He says that the internet and phones including mobiles are tapped across Fiji and he named Vodafone as the main company involved in it and says CEO Aslam Khan is a close associate of Mr Bainimarama.
He says he was present for Bainimarama reviewing transcripts of Fijians' private conversations.
He says IT technicians from India and China have been assisting.
1. Is Vodafone involved in internet or phone tapping for the Bainimarama regime?
2. Does Vodafone provide transcripts of conversations?
3. Are IT technicians from India or China assisting in phone tapping technology?
4. Has Vodafone Fiji ever been involved in phone tapping?
Thanks, Bridget (Radio New Zealand journalist)
Reply from Vodafone 4 November 2011
The claims made are false and baseless and are being vehemently and emphatically denied by Vodafone Fiji Limited. No military personnel in the history of Vodafone Fiji, throughout Fiji’s history of political instability, has ever been permitted to enter our exchange nor monitor calls. Client confidentiality is priority number for Vodafone Fiji.
Vodafone Fiji does not and we emphasize DOES NOT have the technological capabilities to allow mobile phones to be tapped or intercepted. Neither is there any legislation in Fiji that permits the Interception or monitoring of calls by state agents. Unlike countries such as Australia which has Telecommunication [Interception and Access] Act 1979 and New Zealand Telecommunication [intercept capability] Act 2004 which mandates operators to have this interception capabilities .
Manager – Public Relations
Vodafone Fiji Limited
Email from Vodafone CEO to Vodafone Public Relations Manager
From: Aslam Khan
Date: 4 November 2011 15:07:45 GMT+13:00
To: Ligavatu Gukisuva
Cc: Public Relations Team
Subject: Re: Tevita Mara claims
In this abbreviated email from Aslam Khan, CEO Vodafone, to Liga Gukisuva, Khan asked where Ratu Tevita got his information and repeated: "We don't have any tapping facility." He also denied any close relationship with Bainimarama, as Mara claimed :
" I am not a close associate of the PM .. last time I spoke to him was Mpaisa launch .. and hellos at various cocktails .. but it was an acknowledgement and a nod. Boy, Roko Lui (Ratu Tevita Mara) must be desperate to cook up all these stories.".
But publishing a denial to unsubstantiated information is still a story for RadioNZ International. And they can even appear moderate and reasonable by publishing "both sides" Mara v. Vodafone Fiji. But I'm left wondering why they so often only publish one side— the anti-Bainimarama government side — on other Fiji stories, or what's so fresh and newsworthy with Mara's increasingly dubious pronouncements.
Radio NZInternational's Story —
Phone company rejects claims it’s involved in phone bugging in Fiji Posted at 03:24 on 07 November, 2011 UTC
Vodafone Fiji is strongly denying claims made by a former army colonel that the company is involved in phone tapping.
Ratu Tevita Mara, who fled Fiji in May while facing sedition charges, says phone and internet tapping started in early 2007, under the interim prime minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, and Vodafone is the main company involved.
He says he was present when Mr Bainimarama read over transcripts of private conversations and says IT specialists from overseas have been brought in to help.
“It obviously has increased more and now with the IT technicians from India who came in and I’ve heard also that they’ve got technicians from China also who are there assisting in this." The former army colonel Ratu Tevita Mara.
Vodafone Fiji insists it does not have the technology to allow mobile phones to be intercepted and says no military personnel have ever been permitted to enter its exchange nor to monitor calls.
News Content © Radio New Zealand International
PO Box 123, Wellington, New Zealand
But it doesn't stop there.
The blog Fiji Today published the RNZI story with the comment:
"Vodafone Fiji insists it does not have the technology to allow mobile phones to be intercepted. Vodafone Australia and Vodafone NZ with the same equipment in Australia and NZ regularly action police phonetap court orders."
And my "two-bob" bit
It is unclear what technical knowledge Fiji Today has to support this claim.They did not say. Even less clear is Ratu Tevita's technical knowledge or the sources of his information about phonetapping and Chinese and Indian technicians.
He continues to publish this sort of accusation once every one or two weeks (and the international media keeps publishing it) but why don't they remind him of his interview in Tonga with Barbara Dreaver when he said he had documents (stored safely during his "fishing" expedition) that would reveal all about the insidious practices of the Bainimarama government? We have now been waiting months for the revelations.
The information he has obtained since he left Fiji is surely less reliable than that he took with him when he fled the country. If he doesn't reveal their content soon, I'll be led to believe they do not exist.