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Shelter awaits Fiji’s fugitive- Lieutenant Colonel Ratu Tevita Mara

24 May 2011 1,569 No Comment

It is reported by various media sources that the New Zealand government is considering offering political asylum to a fugitive Fijian military man at the centre of a diplomatic row.

Fiji’s military regime is believed to have filed an extradition order with Tonga calling on the immediate return of its former military chief Lieutenant Colonel Ratu Tevita Mara.

Mara is reported to have  escaped Fiji after being charged with plotting to overthrow the government and is holed up in the Tongan capital Nuku’alofa.

Using  YouTube and blog websites Mara has been issuing  strings of stinging claims that the government is rife with corruption, violence and huge salaries for its most senior men.

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key told TV3 on Tuesday that there were a number of factors involved, but it was “a possibility” Lt Col Mara could come to New Zealand.

Key is says his government was looking at removing his name from the list of Fijian government officials banned from travelling to New Zealand. “The ban that we have is a travel ban on those that are members of the regime or are related to members of the regime. In the case of Mr Mara that is no longer the case.”

In his latest YouTube release and statement published on blog site, Lt Col Mara said:

“The dictator often laughed about this in private and he made that promise with no actual intention of honouring it,” the fugitivesaid in the statement.

“Just like his first promise, the 2014 elections will never be staged in Fiji.

“It is only a ploy to soften the international community from the smart sanctions and extract as much loans from donor agencies to sustain the cruel dictatorship until they could for self-interested ambitions.”

He also claimed Bainimarama and his attorney-general, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, paid themselves salaries of F$700,000 (NZ$500,000) a year, which he termed “daylight robbery”.

“People of Fiji, let me say that the 2006 coup objectives are no longer any part of the regime plan.”

“They are now indulging in unprecedented level of self-enrichment never seen under any previous government,” Lt Col Mara said.

“I am calling on the people of Fiji to unite first, and then we shall overcome the dictator soon before our nation is completely destroyed by Khaiyum and Bainimarama.”

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