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Witness Tells Court Why Sedition Accused Did Not Vote in 2014 Poll

The third State witness told the court yesterday that the 14th accused in the Ra sedition case did not vote in the 2014 General Election because he opposed the 2013
18 Aug 2017 11:00
Witness Tells Court Why Sedition Accused Did Not Vote in 2014 Poll

The third State witness told the court yesterday that the 14th accused in the Ra sedition case did not vote in the 2014 General Election because he opposed the 2013 Constitution.

The witness, Police officer Vilitati Bari, made the disclosure.

Ulaiyasi Tabua Tuivomo is the 14th accused.

He is one of the 16 Ra villagers facing sedition charges at the High Court in Lautoka before Justice Aruna Aluthge.

Mr Bari, the officer in charge, conducted the interviews with the accused.

He said in 2014, Tuivomo was sworn in as the ‘Minister for Women and Poverty Alleviation’ in the so-called Ra Sovereign Christian State. Tuivono took an oath in October, 2014.

The court also heard that he was not happy with the 2013 Constitution and believed in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of the Indigenous People (UNDRIP) 2007.

It was also mentioned that he wanted to enforce these international laws in Ra and form a rebel Government in 2014.

It was also revealed that he believed that the land should have been given back to the landowners after Independence which did not eventuate and it was wrong.

Tuivomo in his interview in 2014 also mentioned that the indigenous people could not see a person from another country rule Fiji and that was the reason for the coup when Mahendra Chaudhry was the Prime Minister.

He had also mentioned that the voice of the Indigenous people of Fiji was not heard in the 2013 Constitution and they wanted iqoliqoli rights.

He said the 2006 coup was unethical and no one was prosecuted because it was carried out by the armed force. He said he did not like this as well.

Sixth accused Samuela Ligabalavu’s caution interview showed that he agreed signing the attendance slip for the meetings, Uluda Declaration in October 2014 and taking oath as well.

The court also heard that Ligabalavu was sworn in as the ‘Minister for Youth and Sports’ in Navuavua Village in Ra on October 28, 2014.

The interview from 2014 also stated that Mereoni Corokula had also told Ligabalavu that 15 people were needed to form the Rebel Government known as the Ra Sovereign Christian State.

State lawyer Lee Burney in his cross examination asked Mr Bari to identify signatures of Mr Ligabalavu on the attendance slip and the Uluda Declaration to which he did.

Defence lawyer Kevueli Tunidau asked Mr Bari whether the accused when interviewed in 2014 were given an option to remain silent according to the 2013 Constitutional Rights.

Mr Bari replied that the accused persons were given the right to a solicitor.

Mr Burney objected saying questioning the Police officer in such a manner was unethical.

Mr Burney added that the judge had ruled that the officer had followed the Constitution.

He said the defence did not need to question the ruling of the judge.

The 16 accused are Ratu Epeli Niudamu, Sailasa Malani, Sereima Rokodi, Nanise Nagusuca, Waisea Duailima, Isikeli Kabakoro, Laisiasa Mocevakaca, Emosi Toga, Waisake Racaca, Samuela Ligabalavu, Mikaele Gonerara, Josefa Natau, Sulueti Waqalala, Ulaiyasi Rabua Tuivomo, Apolosi Qalilawa and Ilisapeci Natau. Edited by Ranoba Baoa

Feedback:  kathrin.krishna@fijisun.com.fj



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