“This shows that military rule remains supreme in the country and above civilian rule enforced by the police.
It is evidently clear that Police Commissioner Ben Groenwald was given his marching orders abruptly by the Prime Minister because three police officers are facing prosecution for alleged brutality on an prison escapee” adds Hon Draunidalo.
Hon Draunidalo says police officers being recruited as soldiers in the Fiji Military Forces after being suspended from the Police Force with the Land Force Commander publicly saying they were ‘abandoned’ by the Police Force was also very concerning.
“Mr Groenwald’s confirmation of interference from the military is well and publicly documented in his comments to both local and international media. On Fiji One News on Wednesday 11th November he even goes on to say that ‘the military was harbouring a suspect’ in the Iowane Benedito case and that ‘to him this was perverting the course of justice’,” states the NFP President.
“These are very strong and serious statements coming from the Head of a law enforcement agency. It proves that the military is above the law and is abusing its constitutional authority as the supposed ultimate guarantors of peace and security of the nation, and it throws grave doubt as to whether Parliament as the highest authority of the land really will be respected by the military”, states Draunidalo.
The NFP President says the process behind this saga lends credence to the view that the Prime Minister knew of this interference. The Prime Minister appears to have forced Mr Groenwald out of office and once again abused his authority as Chairman of the Constitutional Offices Commission to make an acting appointment – and that too from the military. By doing this qualified, competent and career police officers who assisted the Commissioner were by-passed.
“The forced resignation of Groenwald is wrong, the appointment of the Acting Commissioner is a case of nepotism and cronyism of the highest order.
Meritocracy has been trashed in favour of jobs ‘for the boys’,” states Hon Roko Tupou Draunidalo.
“This sad episode illustrates the Fiji First Government has no regard for the rule of law and the Constitution that it formulated and forced upon the people of Fiji,” states the NFP President.
“It will also demoralize members of the police force who should now rightly fear the security of their employment after their boss was cast aside,” adds Hon Draunidalo.
The NFP President says the military continue to be a law unto themselves. The local legal fraternity and the international community should stop turning a blind eye to all of this this for the sake of preserving and promoting pseudo-democracy and at least condemn this act in the strongest manner.
The Prime Minister has a lot of explaining to do."
Hon Roko Tupou Draunidalo
COUPING his way from 1987 to be PRESIDENT:
Jioji Konrote in Government House
"The writ in this case was issued on the 1st July 1993 and the Statement of Claim annexed to it alleges that on the 24th October 1990 the Plaintiff [Dr Anirudh Singh] while walking along Rewa Street, Suva, was assaulted by the 2nd and 5th Defendants who then over-powered him and pushed him into the rear seat of a car which was being driven by, the 4th Defendant who in turn were assisted by the 3rd Defendant who was sitting in the rear seat of the car. The car was then driven to Colo-i-Suva where the Plaintiff was blindfolded by putting pads on both eyes before a strip of cloth was tied around his head in a blind-fold and a balaclava pulled securely over his head and tied around his neck. The Plaintiff alleges he was then walked into the woodland where his hands were tied behind him after which he was made to sit down and another rope then tied around his feet and slung around his neck. He alleges that one of the Defendants sat behind him holding a noose around his head and keeping him pulled backwards. The Plaintiff was told not to make any sound or try to escape. Afterwards he alleges he was repeatedly punched and kicked violently in the head, face and body and interrogated whilst he remained defencelessly bound. His captivity lasted some 11 hours. Towards night fall, the First Five Defendants either jointly or severally put on dark balaclavas and unbound the Plaintiff. He alleges they then assaulted him violently on the head and face from both sides for a prolonged period lasting some 10 minutes and methodically smashed up both his hands with a metal pipe furnished with a wooden handle. Afterwards, the Defendants cut the Plaintiffs hair, burnt it with cigarettes and disappeared into the darkness, taking the Plaintiff's shoes with them and leaving him alone in the dark in the forested hill. As a result of this abduction and torture the Plaintiff was hospitalised for three weeks at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital in Suva and alleges he suffered the following injuries:(a) Facial bruising around the left eye and orbit with sub-conjunctival haemorrhage;(b)Rope burns around both wrists; (c) Fracture of right radial styloid;(d) Compound fracture of the left fifth finger;(e) Fracture of base of fifth meta-carpal; (f) Abrasions of both hands; (g) Superficial burns of left shoulder and right forearm consistent with cigarette burns;(h) Contusions of anterior chest wall; and (i) Decreased sensation of left hand due to neuropraxia (bruising) of radial nerve from the wrist-rope. The First to Fifth Defendants at all material times are alleged to have been members of the Fiji Military Forces and servants and/or agents of the Government of Fiji, the Sixth Defendant being the legal representative of the Government of Fiji and vicariously liable for the acts of the First to Fifth Defendants."