SAVUA ENQUIRY Part 3: Savua had packed to shift to PM’s office and used police resources for treason
Summary of Part 2: Savua’s dereliction of duties and failure to use riot bus. In part 2, you read, how, despite all the police resources and Police Mobile Unit and the Riot (Red) Bus at his disposal, Savua rendered that useless, and he was missing-in-action to lead the police to control an unruly crowd, as he had predicted. Despite all this, he was found innocent of any wrong doing by Justice Timoci Tuivaga’s court, held in camera. Now read Part 3 to make up your own mind whether he was guilty. If you have not read two other previous parts, please go back to FIJI PUNDIT (www.fijipundit.blogspot.co.nz) and catch up on those stories that no Fiji papers or journalists have ever reported on.
Here is Part 3
CRITICAL SUPPORT UNITS AVAILABLE TO SAVUA TO CONTROL RIOTS AND PARLIAMENTARY TAKEOVER
(a) Recruitment of Ex-Soldiers
About 900 ex-military personnel were absorbed into the Police Mobile Unit to reinforce its strength. Why weren’t they fully utilized to cover the streets of Suva and the Parliament before the March of May 19, 2000? Were they actually recruited to support the takeover of Government?
(b) Intelligence Services
Were other government intelligence agencies consulted and strategic action taken by Mr. Savua by drawing strategic plans to prevent possible disobedience and civil unrest? If not, why not? Officers have reported that the Commissioner deliberately misinformed the Prime Minister and the Minister for Home Affairs by downplaying security threats and developments in official reports. He deliberately manipulated Police Reports, and indeed cut off the access the Police intelligence chiefs had with the Prime Minister.
A letter dated 16/04/00 was addressed to the Prime Minister which was handed over to the Police Special Branch Unit forewarning them of the possible plan to take over the Government. The letter identified Mr. Savua as one of the architects of the planned takeover with another former army Colonel, Savenaca Draunidalo. It also named several senior public servants including a permanent secretary and several people who were appointed ministers in the Interim Administration.
In this letter, an extremely serious allegation had been made about the Police Commissioner and his involvement in planning a takeover of the Parliament. Why were these information not acted upon and a full inquiry not taken place at that time based on the information provided? The Commissioner withheld this information from his Minister and the Prime Minister and thwarted attempts by senior intelligence and police officers to directly see their Minister to discuss this concern. Two of these officers were transferred out of Suva at this time.
(c) March Permit and Rioting
We are to understand that the permit for the proposed March of May 19th was only allowed within a designated area; i.e., from the Suva bus station to Government House and nowhere else as specified. Why didn’t the Police Mobile Unit erect roadblock at the Government House main gate to stop those taking part in the march heading to Parliament? Officers have told us that the Police Commissioner asked officers loyal to him to allow the marches to proceed beyond Sukuna Park.
|A burnt-out Suva. Savua was missing in action, and prevented police from bringing law and order to rioting that burnt part of Suva.|
The Police Commissioner and handpicked officers were in the thick of looting and rioting. A number of officers and witnesses have informed us that the Commissioner was instructing the rioters to "complete their looting within two hours". During this period when he was in the thick of the rioting in Marks Street and Cumming Streets in Suva, he made sure that Police reinforcements were not deployed in these areas to bring the rioting under control.
His loyal police officers played an important role in ensuring that the Mobile Unit did not hinder the marches and that the pre-planned looting was allowed to run its planned course.
(d) Penal Code Offences
Some rebels were arrested by police on Ratu Sukuna Road outside the Nasese Shopping Centre for damaging property and shop lifting; both Penal Code offences. We are informed that Mr. Savua released those arrested after consulting his rebel brother, Major Savua without being charged. Mr. Savua (PC) gave the directive to release all the rebels during a briefing at the Central Police Station.
(e) Evidence of Vacating Office
A week before the attempted coup, Mr. Savua packed all his belongings in his office and told his staff officer, one ASP that he would be moving to the PM’s office as Prime Minister. Staff officers had packed his office materials and confidential reports and police papers were destroyed or left in a secure Shipping Container at his residence. Unfortunately, one of the senior staff has been sent away for overseas mission by the Commissioner of Police to avoid him giving testimony in the tribunal.
(f) Threatening Violence
Mr. Savua threatened a former Divisional Police Officer at gunpoint. This is not the first police officer to be threatened at gunpoint by Mr. Savua during this period. Such threats were aimed at warning officers that he could take action outside of law.
(g) Inward/Outward Calls
Mr. Savua has been regularly making and receiving phone calls from George Speight and his associates a couple of weeks before the attempted takeover. His mobile phone was used extensively before, during and after the takeover of the previous government for such contacts.
|Savua was in cahoots with George Speight, was in constant touch with him and provided police resources to loot Muaniweni Indo-Fijian farmers.|
These calls increased in frequency in the days leading to the coup and on the day of the takeover of parliament. At least 5 telephone conversations took place between Speight and Savua on May 19th itself. Surely the Commissioner was not discussing insurance business with Speight on the day of the takeover.
(h) Police Recruitment
The recruitment of Special Constable in the Force is shocking - reeking of nepotism and gross abuse of office. A large number of Special Constables were recruited from his province - including over-age and under-age recruits and special constables with criminal convictions.
Most alarming was the fact that criminals who were involved in looting and terrorism in the Tailevu area and who were released on bail by the Magistrates courts were recruited, through Savua's approval as special constables. Some of these people were then put in charge of police security over the very people that they had terrorized. A total of 100 new recruits were recruited two to three weeks before the coup. Out of the 100 recruited, there was only a single Indo-Fijian and 99 Fijian recruits.
In fact the Acting Commissioner had taken some steps to remedy this and had terminated the employment of 26 Special Constables recruited by Savua who had serious criminal records. The charge of recruiting Special constables with criminal records in itself must have been adequate for the Tribunal and the Public Service commission to terminate his employment. This was a gross violation of Public Service procedures and ethics. How did the Kangaroo court that tried him find him innocent?
Some senior police officers were part of a conspiracy to overthrow the Peoples' Coalition Government. This conspiracy was hatched by Savua with the assistance of a senior official in the President's Office, several senior public servants who were formerly in the army and politicians from SVT and the FAP - several were made Ministers in Interim Government headed by Qarase.
Prior to the coup, 65 % of the Police Mobile Force Unit was taken off elite training to undergo work at stations around the country. Savua directed this work in spite of opposition from loyal police officers - who saw this as a most peculiar development especially as the security situation was worsening in the capital. Neither the Home Affairs Minister nor the Prime Minister was informed about this significant development.
Savua recruited handpicked territorial Force soldiers to replace Police Mobile personnel. This was a highly questionable development - and because it took place gradually over several months, such a large-scale deployment was hidden from the Police Services Commission and the Minister responsible.
One hour before the coup, a red police bus with Territorial officers was directed from Sukuna Park to go to parliament house. When they reached parliament house, the marching crowd arrived there. They simply went past the riot squad to the back gate of the parliament. They were told by Mr. Savua to standby there and guard the front gates of parliament instead of being deployed in the city where looting had already begun.
(j) Savua for Prime Minister?
The looting in downtown Suva took almost 4 hours with only few police man manning the city area. Surprisingly, the police had no strategies to counter the looting coupled with civil disobedience in the heart of the city.
We are reliably informed that Mr. Savua directed Jahir Khan to go to Parliament house and bring the leader of the house and the speaker to the command center where he was awaiting. He knew full well by the time that the armed men had taken control of the parliament. Even if they hadn't what protocol required the Speaker and the Head to be summoned to the office of the Police Commissioner? Savua, according to police informants was to declare himself the Prime Minister following this meeting. But his plans were foiled when others jumped onto the bandwagon of Speight's takeover and cut him off from Speight.
One Constable drove Jahir Khan to parliament. Upon arrival at the Parliament gates, they asked to be let through the gates but Mr. Duvuloco arrived at the scene and objected to these officers going in to parliament house. It appears that a new group that was marginal to the planning of the conspiracy had now begun to control the shots inside the parliament.
(k) Actions at the Height of Crisis
Mr. Savua is renowned for his media conference on both minor and major issues. At the height of crisis, he was nowhere to be seen. His absence was quite deliberate.
Mr. Savua was not available for advice and direction on the day of looting and he remained out of the office for most of the whole day. It would be interesting to get a print out of his statement of account of mobile phone (mobile no 905269) on the day of the looting. Interestingly, he was seen on the streets of Suva while his senior officers had no knowledge of his whereabouts.
This pattern was to be repeated in the days ahead. He was again absent from office when the police stations around the nations were being taken over by rebels. Serving members with their families were subject of abuse by the rebels and put through a living hell.
(l) Corporal Seavula
The night the TV station was stormed, Central Police Station (CPS) was also threatened by the same rebels. The same night, Corporal Seavula was shot to death. On that night, all police were on standby at CPS as the rebels going from parliament house to town. The army was guarding CPS and all lights were off at the station. Police officers were waiting for the rebels to arrive at the CPS.
Officers at the CPS heard gunshots nearby (Selbourne St and also in town). At midnight the lights were turned on and Mr. Savua called all officers and started telling them about the events that night and asked the officers present to carry on the work (standby in their areas) and were debriefed and they were told them to go home. Why was this done when so serious security threats existed? What was discussed between Savua and the rebels on this night? Did it relate to the removal of the President, Ratu Mara?
TO BE CONTINUED in DRAMATIC CONCLUDING PART: SAVUA ENQUIRY-PART 4 - Police Helped Transport Arms from Military to Rebels and Steal from Muaniweni Indo Fijian farmers.