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Mara is a fugitive: PM

 

May 15, 2011 12:00:00 AM

Former Royal Fiji Military Force (RFMF) 3FIR Commander Lieutenant Colonel Ratu Tevita  Uluilakeba Mara has been declared a fugitive under the Extradition Act by Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama after he tried to flee the country bound for Tonga.

And apart from the charges of sedition Mara faces, Commodore Bainimarama said investigations have revealed his involvement in the unaccounted $3million from Fiji Pine Trust.

In a press conference late this afternoon, Commodore Bainimarama confirmed an illegal extraction of Mara by the Royal Tongan Navy Patrol Boat, Savea that took place one nautical mile North West of cape Washington in Kadavu earlier this week.

“Preliminary investigations nullify the claims of a search and rescue mission off Southern Ono-i-Lau, however we can confirm that the illegal extraction of Mara took place.”

“I intend to communicate with the Tongan Prime Minister within the next 24 hours about these breaches,” he said.

He said Mara failed to surrender his passport after his appearance in court on May 4, and did not report to police on Friday as ordered by the court thus breaching his bail conditions.

“His fleeing Fiji now makes him a fugitive under the Extraction Act. The DPP (Director of Public Prosecution) will present various documentation to the courts tomorrow morning to commence extradition of this fugitive.”

Bainimarama labeled Mara’s act as “despicable” and said that Police have commenced with their investigations to find people who may have aided Mara in his escape.

“In this respect the Commissioner of Police has already commenced investigations to find out who facilitated the fleeing of an accused person and conspired to breach Fiji’s sovereignty.”

“This is unfortunate and shows a fundamental disloyalty to Fiji, Fijian laws and the Fijian people.”

Meanwhile, the PM said government intends to maintain their long harmonious relationship with Tonga.

Ratu Uluilakeba Mara, the youngest son of former Fiji Prime Minister and President, the late Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara, was named Land Force 3FIR Commanding Officer on February 3 in 2006, succeeding Colonel Meli Saubulinayau, a close relative of his.

This position is the fourth highest in the RFMF, behind that of the Military Commander Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama.

By Repeka Nasiko and Farzana Nisha

 

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