NEWS

Chaudhry Questioned, Five Released

Five men – politicians, a trade unionist and a staff member of a non-government organisation – were yesterday released from Police custody. Police wrapped up questioning regarding their participation and
12 Sep 2016 09:10
Chaudhry Questioned,  Five Released
Fiji Labour Party Leader Mahendra Chaudhry with Pita Waqavonovono outside the Totogo Police Station yesterday. Photo: Vilimoni Vaganalau

Five men – politicians, a trade unionist and a staff member of a non-government organisation – were yesterday released from Police custody. Police wrapped up questioning regarding their participation and comments made at a recent forum organised by non-government organisation Pacific Dialogue.

Commissioner of Police Brigadier-General Sitiveni Qiliho last night confirmed that while they had finished questioning the five, Fiji Labour Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry, who turned himself in yesterday afternoon, would spend the night in Police custody.

SODELPA leader Sitiveni Rabuka, National Federation Party (NFP) leader Biman Prasad, trade unionist Attar Singh, Pacific Dialogue staff member Jone Dakuvula and former politician Tupeni Baba were taken in for questioning on Saturday.

Files on the investigation have been forwarded to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions for sanctioning of possible charges.

It is believed possible charges could be  breaching two sections of the Public Order (Amendment) Act.

The five were released well within the 48-hour time frame which is how long anyone can be kept in Police custody before being produced in court.

Police sources said that during a forum organised by Pacific Dialogue where Mr Rabuka, Mr Prasad and Mr Chaudhry were on the panel, one of them had commented that Police and military intelligence officers were keeping a tab on their movement.

To this, one of the group had allegedly responded- ‘blow them’. Investigations on this front are continuing.

The comments were made at a Pacific Dialogue forum held at St Andews Presbyterian Church in Suva.

NFP Member of Parliament Prem Singh has confirmed that Munro Leys lawyer Richard Naidu had been with Mr Prasad during questioning yesterday.

Mr Dakuvula had waived rights to legal counsel.

Mr Rabuka was accompanied by his lawyer Simione Valenitabua.

Suva lawyer Raman Pratap Singh provided legal advice to Attar Singh. [Clarification: Attar Singh is general secretary of FICTU (Fiji Islands Council of Trade Unions)]

Edited by Maraia Vula

Feedback: jyotip@fijisun.com.fj


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