"I have indicated to the A-G that I am not interested in going forward with my contract and we reached mutual agreement that I will end my contract today. An hour ago my contract was ended. I am no more the Commissioner of Police of Fiji...I am waiting for confirmation of my flight and shipment of my personal belongings...[Bruce Hill: Anything to do with recent standoff between Police and Military?] Not directly but indirectly, YES. I do not agree the way they [military] are interfering with Policing. I am a too blooded Police Officer and I am not satisfied with the way they [MILITARY] interfere with Policing"; Fijileaks: Khaiyum is not line manager of Police Commissioner so why was he involved?; the line manager is Minister for Defence Timoci Natuva!
CHILD SOLDIER?: "Go, little child, train to shoot, hmmm, who cares about Geneva Convention and Child Safety in Fiji"
Qiliho: "The men [three suspended Police Officers] were working for the safety of the people of Fiji and had been abandoned by the police"
Fiji's Land Force Commander Sitiveni Qiliho says the military had good intentions in recruiting three suspended police officers who've been charged with assault.
The trio have been charged in relation to the assault of Iowane Benedito which was captured in a video which went viral nearly three years ago.
Colonel Qiliho told Sally Round the men were working for the safety of the people of Fiji and had been abandoned by the police.
CMMDR SITIVENI QILIHO: They haven't been convicted yet but unfortunately the police force has abandoned them. They were working for the Fiji police force and they were working with military officers. Now we will stand by our men and women through thick and thin. We're not going to abandon them. So they have come to us that they've been abandoned by the Fiji police and we've recruited them, they are now part of the military. It's not a new thing. Police officers have been recruited before into the RFMF and also the Commander RFMF, in his constitutional powers, has the powers to hire and fire. We've done that with good intentions, that they were working for the safety of the people of Fiji. They might have been now involved on the wrong side of the law but we'll go through the court process. It doesn't mean that we've recruited them that we will not go through the court process. No, that will continue. We took them on because they were abandoned.
SALLY ROUND: And what jobs are they doing with the military?
SQ: The military doesn't divulge jobs that we give. There are military police here that we can employ them in. There's other duties that we can employ them in. We don't have to tell the whole world what each individual is doing in the military.
SR: So are there many police that have, that you say you've recruited in this way, they've been abandoned by the police, they've come to you and you've taken them on?
SQ: No, no it's not for a similar case but we've had police who've resigned from the police force and we've taken them on in the RFMF in various capacities over the years since 1987. They have not been convicted. Now the media is convicting them already. That is what you are alluding to now. Let's wait for the court process.
SR: Would you not have waited though until they had been cleared to recruit them?
SQ: You mean for them to fight their own battles out there without the capability of hiring lawyers, do you mean to tell me that?
SR: So is the military providing lawyers for them in court?
SQ: Yes we have a lawyer fighting for our service personnel who are involved in the same case. We've hired a lawyer and they're looking after the three policemen as well.
SR: There have been some concerns expressed that the military feels it is above the rule of law in doing this. What is your response to that?
SQ: Look, we the military was involved in 2006 and was very happy with the constitution coming into place. Have we said that we won't produce them in court? Have we said that? You have to ask the people saying that we are above the rule of law to answer your question. We're not going to answer that. The men have appeared in court. They're out on bail. Where do you stand above the law in that? We won't be drawn into commenting on what other people have said and especially what other political parties have said. We are not going to be a political football.
SR: There was some reporting of the case of Pita Matairavula. The police went to try and arrest him but he was at the military barracks and they couldn't get to him. Is that true?
SQ: I'm not sure of that allegation. You need to clarify that with the people who are saying it. Pita Matairavula appeared in the Lautoka Court and he came back. He reports to work. I wasn't approached by the police looking for Matairavula.
SR: So that's not true then?
SQ: I don't know who's making those allegations. You have to ask the police that whether they made approaches to me or whoever they're looking for because Peter Matairavula works for me in land forces so nobody approached me.
SR: But the military would they protect their soldiers in this way, if the police came looking for them would they say, no he's on the barracks you can't have access to him. Would they do that?
SQ: Like any military barracks around the world nobody has free reign walking into the barracks. If they just wanted to drive into any military barracks, it doesn't happen. It doesn't happen even there in New Zealand or does the police have free access into New Zealand military camps? I doubt it.