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FIJI - POLICE INQUIRY: PACNEWS PACNEWS 2: Tues August 29 2000
29 AUGUST 2000 SUVA (Pacnews) -- The inquiry into the alleged involvement of
Fiji's Police Commissioner, Isikia Savua in the armed insurrection on May 19
which resulted in the overthrow of the country's democratically elected
government will be held in camera.
While the inquiry was initially opened to members of the public, the three
member tribunal headed by Chief Justice, Sir Timoci Tuivaga, ruled that it be
closed to members of the public and the media.
"A closed hearing will encourage people to come forward and give evidence
without fear of victimisation. Since the notice went out last week, we have
come to learn that many people who may have relevant information and evidence
wish to attend the inquiry would not do so in front of a public gallery," Sir
Timoci said in his opening remarks.
He said the proceeding is "essentially a disciplinary inquiry" which is of
immediate interest only to Savua and his employer, the Public Service
"In restricting the scope of the inquiry, the tribunal is aware of the strong
public interest and other ramifications. The tribunal believes that a closed
hearing will not only facilitate a proper conduct of the inquiry but will also
safeguard against possible abuses of the orderly process for the investigation
of highly controversial and sensitive matters," Sir Timoci added.
The inquiry will establish facts on whether Savua had prior knowledge of plans
to destabilise the country and whether he also had a hand in the civil unrest
The tribunal will present its findings to the President, who together with the
Public Service Commission will decide on Savua's future as Police chief.
The inquiry will also look at allegations of general lack of trust and
confidence in the Police force and Savua's incompetent and ineffective
leadership of the force during the civil unrest.
Members of the public have been given two weeks to make submissions to the
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last revision 09/02/2000