SAVUA ENQUIRY-PART 4 - Police helped in looting Muaniweni Indo Fijian farmers and Transported Arms from Military to Rebels
Thakur Ranjit Singh,
Auckland, New Zealand
Summary of PART 3: Savua had packed to shift to PM’s office and used police resources for treason. In Part 3 you read how Savua has cleared and packed, expecting to become Fiji's Prime Minister after deposing Mahendra Chaudhry. He abused police resources to commit treason. He had all the resources at his disposal to control riots and bring peace, but he had other ideas. All the available evidence speaks about his dereliction, in fact negligence of duties and grave misconduct. Yet, he was found innocent by a Kangaroo Court, manipulated to support nationalist elements and Qarase's regime. This court, held in camera, was a fraud on the people of Fiji. THIS CONCLUDING PART 4 reveals how police helped looting Indo-Fijian farmers in Muaniweni, Naitasiri, Fiji and also help steal and transport arms from Military camp to the rebels in Parliament. If you have not read three 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.
These are very revealing information after being first published in Fiji’s Daily Post in 2000 under pseudo name of Liu Muri/Aage Picche.
HERE IS CONCLUDING PART 4
COMMISSIONER’S INVOLVEMENT AFTER THE TAKEOVER OF PARLIAMENT
Support for Rebels
On the day of the coup, opposition MP and a minister in the Speight government, Saimoni Kaitani said "it’s only a matter of time before the police and army pledge their support to the rebels". There are a number of similar instances in which the support of the Police Commissioner and his chosen officers were demonstrated through such statements.
One Police Officer told that the Police were involved in the transportation of arms to the Parliamentary complex following the takeover of the Parliament. He states:
I wish to add that on Saturday 20.5.00 at about 0230 hours whilst we were putting up the road block opposite the Lighthouse Restaurant (in Nasese) when police vehicle F/171 arrived with SP M. The rotating lights were on as they were escorting another Government vehicle. I went over to check and found that the said vehicle was fully loaded with arms. I opened the road block as instructed by SP M because he said he was under orders from higher up and they went up to the Parliament house.
It was clear from this that the arms cartage to the Parliament complex in this car were authorised by the Police Commissioner. These arms were to be used to reinforce the armaments available to the terrorists, as they had feared an attack by the Fiji Military Forces.
Abuse of police vehicles and resources
Mr. Savua had given instructions for the use of a police vehicle to convey dalo and meat from Muaniweni for the rebels holding the Government hostage.
One Inspector was on duty at the command centre on the day of the alleged incident. The same Inspector was chosen by Mr. Savua to go for peacekeeping duty in Solomon Islands when the issue of cattle theft and unlawful use of police vehicle was highlighted in the news media but was stopped from leaving the country by the military at that time.
A statement by one ASP regarding the above incident:
On the 28th of May … I reported to duty to takeover from ASP .y. - the 7-7 Unit Commander. The (Police) transport was poor during the takeover. ASP y.. advised me that the Commissioner of Police had directed that a police vehicle be sent to the Parliament at 0600 hours on the morning of 29th May (2000) to be used by George Speight's men to convey some cattle and root crops from Savu, Naitasiri (Muaniweni) to the Parliament. I directed SPC to be ready to take the Canter truck to Parliament in the morning… At 0455 SC moved out F/49 (Canter Truck) to Delainavesi to pick SCS.. who will then drive to Parliament to pick Mr Speight's men for the Savu trip to get the cattle and root crops for Speight's men and his supporters. Note the sending of F/49 and the Police driver was in line with the instructions given by the Commissioner of Police to ASP y...
At 0630 hours, I rang parliament to confirm whether the Police Truck had arrived. I spoke to one Mr Dakai who confirmed that a truck and a police driver had arrived for the trip to Savu and thanked me for it. I made notes of the above instructions in my note book from the 28/5 to 29/5.
SPC .z. who was the driver for the Police Vehicle on the day said that:
|The rebels supported by Savua, who terrorised Fiji for almost two months in 2000 until crushed by Fiji Military which brought law and order when even police were rendered helpless under a poor and ineffective Commissioner Savua.|
On the morning of 29th May, 2000, I was picked from my house by SC P.. in this vehicle at 0530 hours. We went to Nasese transport pool where SC P.. told me to drive F/49 to Parliament and pick some George Speight's men and take them to Muaniweni to pick some food stuff. I drove down to Parliament where Police force vehicle was waiting for me to confirm my going. The Policeman asked me if I was going to pick the food for the rebels from Muaniweni. I said yes and they drove off again. The Parliament gate guard asked me where I was going. I replied I was sent by the Commissioner to see Rinakama (an MP supporting George Speight) about the food to be picked from Muaniweni. The guard opened the Parliament gate and allowed F/49 inside. Then Mr Rinakama came and told me to take the Naitasiri men to bring the food. Then while parking at the Parliament complex, 8 Fijian men from Naitasiri came and told me to go to Muaniweni where Tomasi Vosalevu is waiting. We drove … right to Muaniweni Indian school. At the school Vosalevu was waiting with a heap of dalo and carcass of cattle meat. The food stuff and meat was loaded and Vosalevu said to drive further and wait for him. When I came where he was, a cattle was slaughtered in the middle of the road. The men at the back loaded the cattle at the back of the Police truck. We then drove back to the Parliament where we arrived at 11 am… The supporters of George Speight and his men came and shook my hand for the Police support and cheered for the Police Truck.
The Police Commissioner knew very well that Savu Road leads to Muaniweni where most of the looting of crops and cattle by Speight's supporters during this period was occurring. This was well reported through local and international media coverage during that week. Local radio and newspapers had also raised concern that much of the looted crops and cattle were being transported to the Parliament. These reports had already been lodged with the Police both in Suva and in Nausori.
The looting, burning and stealing in this region was spearheaded by Tomasi Vosalevu - also known as Ratu Malimali (involved in a bank robbery and was on bail at the time) who was in the Parliament for much of the week.
Ratu Malimali was supposed to have organised everything (looting, burning etc) down here (Muaniweni)… his lorries were used to transport stolen root crops and cattle to the parliament complex during the 1st ten days after the coup.
|The looted and robbed farmers at Muaniweni: they were looted in Police vehicles by criminal elements working for Speight and Savua.|
It was because of the complicity between the Police and those who were involved in the looting, burning and violence that families fled Muaniweni during this period to live in the refugee camp in Lautoka. The Police Commissioner must be held directly responsible for this.
The Commissioner of Police's instructions to provide a police transport and police resources to terrorists who were holding the legitimate, constitutional government hostage is nothing short of a treasonous act. It was a source of great encouragement to them. His actions to provide official transport to cart food that was violently and forcibly taken from isolated rural households is an unpardonable capital offence as well - demonstrating a frightening complicity between the Commissioner and the terrorists who were holding the Constitutional Government hostage. This instance of providing official transport and support to organize the cartage of food demonstrates a most frightening complicity between the Police Commissioner and some of the most dangerous criminal elements who were behind some of the worst violence to be seen in this country recently.
[For a corroborating story on this, read FIJI PUNDIT on violence on Indo Fijians. This story was covered by Thakur Ranjit Singh in Fiji’s Daily Post on Muaniweni looting of Indo- Fijians by Police officers on Police vehicles in May, 2000: See the link:
Savua came under criticism for attending a police chief’s conference in Vanuatu at the height of the crisis. Why did he not send another officer to Vanuatu as in previous years? Did Savua channel overseas funds to support the takeover of the parliament during this trip? Is Savua allowed under Fiji laws to have a personal bank account in an overseas tax haven? Were large deposits made into his account between April 2000 and July 2000?
Vanuatu is tax haven and Police inquiries into the involvement of a number of overseas business interests were continuing. Of special interest are the triad gangs who have operated with some immunity until the recent drug bust up. It has been reported that these gangs enjoyed some protection from the Police during the period when Savua was the Commissioner.
Meeting with Rebels
The rebel group met Mr. Savua on the 21/7/00 at the Nabua Police Station. We are reliably informed that they discussed a new lineup for the interim government and Savua's role within it,
The rebels even during periods of curfew had access to the Police Commissioner.
|The name and honour of once proud police force of Fiji has been tarnished by extremely poor leadership and performance under Savua.|
One officer informed that:
On the night when the Central Police Station (CPS) was under attack by the rebels, all lights at the CPS were turned off (with the exception of the Command Centre light where the Commissioner was at the time). In the darkness and uncertainty, Major Savua (the Commissioner's brother who was inside the parliamentary complex) entered his room and held private discussions with the Commissioner. Following these discussions, the Commissioner asked that the Police truck be provided to cart food for the rebels from the Savu area. All officers who took part in a parade just after the rebel attack on CPS and greater Suva area heard this instruction very clearly.
The events noted here have demonstrated that the Police Commissioner has failed in his constitutional duty, oath and obligation to uphold the rule of law and protect the constitutional government.
Indeed, he has actively used the police forces to support the takeover and overthrow of the democratic and constitutional government. His motivation was quite clear from the accounts presented here - he wanted to be an important part of a new government to emerge from the takeover of the parliament. To this end, he had used and manipulated police officers and resources to support the actions of the terrorists who took over the parliament on May the 19th, 2000.
Through his deliberate actions, important arms of the police forces were rendered incapable of preemptively dealing with the takeover and the violence and rioting that ensued subsequently. His actions have done great damage to a professional and generally hard working, committed and loyal Police Force in the country.
From the evidence presented here, we are convinced that the Police Commissioner should have been subjected to trial for both treason and other capital offences arising from his actions. The Commission charged with the Tuivaga inquiry should be recognized as a fraud orchestrated by the Commissioner's cronies in the Interim Government, headed by Laisenia Qarase, who later tasted power and formed SDL Party to come to power through democratic process. This included elements within the judiciary and the Public Service Commission who had been associated with the attempt to abrogate the Constitution of Fiji Islands and confer some legitimacy to the Interim Government through that.
All these took place when a supposedly clean and honest banker, Laisenia Qarase was appointed by Bainimarama as the Interim Prime Minister, who obviously tasted power and worked in cahoots with the ethno-nationalist elements. Qarase, subsequently formed SDL Political Party and came to power, and started abusing democratic processes to introduce racist policies and persecute Indo-Fijians through questionable laws and policies. Frank Bainimarama gave advance warning to Laisenia Qarase to improve his governance and remove extreme-nationalism and racism from SDL policies and proposed laws. Qarase ignored Bainimarama threats at this own peril, and as warned, was unceremoniously deposed by military on 6 December, 2006. The rest is history. In the breaking news Qarase has just been released early from jail after serving time, and is reported to have met Ratu Mara's sister-in-law, Ro Teimumu Kepa, Rewan Chief known for her racist tendencies. It is hoped Qarase has learnt his lesson in jail, and has learned some chapters on politics of inclusion.
Overseas community need to read and appreciate these articles and see what the military has to contend with. Any strong-arm tactic and tight controls on media and freedom are to stop the rot of ethno-nationalism repeat in Fiji. Democracy in Fiji is developing, as we need a home-grown solution to our fundamental problems and issues. It is hoped series of these articles help you better understand and appreciate the problems and issues in Fiji.
THAKUR RANJIT SINGH