The Minister for Home Affairs Pio Tikoduadua says he has met with the Commander of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces (CRFMF), Major-General Ro Jone Kalouniwai and has resolved the matter regarding the application of George Speight and others for early release.
Tikoduadua was asked by FijiLive about the RFMF Commander’s concerns on the intentions of government to release 2000 coup leader George Speight and Naitasiri Chief Ratu Inoke Takiveikata who are serving life sentences.
Tikoduadua said the matter had been settled, and a statement was issued by the Acting Minister for Home Affairs Filimoni Vosarogo at the time.
Tikoduadua said he had the opportunity to speak with the Commander RFMF and thanked him for his commitment to upholding the rule of law and the understanding the need to work together.
“We need to look at what’s in the best interest of Fiji and at the same time understand our individual roles in a democracy.”
“I met the Commander Kalouniwai in Rakiraki last week… I am actually looking forward to continuing to develop and look at areas in which we can strengthen each other’s role while at the same time work together in the best interest of the people of Fiji,” Tikoduadua added.
At the time the Commander RFMF raised his concerns, the Acting Minister for Home Affairs, Filimoni Vosarogo, said he f understood the concerns of the Commander on the application for the early release of George Speight and others.
Vosarogo said , Commander Kalouniwai’s actions of bringing it to his attention, indicated the Commander’s commitment to the rule of law and mutual respect.
“Government’s intention’s to consider the fact of George Speight’s application and other applications for a presidential pardon is just one part of the process. Launching a petition requires a rigorous process of examination of character and rehabilitation.” Vosarogo said.
“The Constitution has safety gauges to ensure that one received pardon that does not deserve pardon,” Vosarogo added.
He said that the initiation of a petition does not automatically mean a release.
Speight has been imprisoned for the last 20 years whilst Ratu Inoke was jailed in 2011 for life with a non-parole period of 8 years.
FijiLive has also reached out to the Commander of the RFMF for comments.