We fully understand the concerns of the Army Commander on the application of George Speight and others - Vosarogo
Commander raises the RFMF’s concerns with the Acting Minister and Minister

We fully understand the concerns of the Army Commander on the application of George Speight and others - Vosarogo

Commander raises the RFMF’s concerns with the Acting Minister and Minister

By Vijay Narayan
Thursday 01/06/2023
Acting Home Affairs Minister, Filimoni Vosarogo and Commander of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces, Major General Jone Kalouniwai

Acting Home Affairs Minister, Filimoni Vosarogo says he fully understands the concerns of the Commander of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces, Major General Jone Kalouniwai on the application for release of George Speight and possibly others, and the timing of such discussions, especially as the nation begins to craft new beginnings with many rays of hope for a better Fiji still ahead of us.

Major General Kalouniwai confirmed to fijivillage News earlier today that the RFMF had raised their concerns this morning about George Speight and Ratu Inoke Takiveikata with Acting Minister Vosarogo and Minister for Home Affairs, Pio Tikoduadua.

However he says we can speak to the Minister and Acting Minister regarding their concerns.

When contacted by fijivillage News, Vosarogo says he thanks the Commander RFMF for bringing the concerns of the RFMF to him as the acting line minister and that shows the Commander’s commitment to the rule of law, cordiality, and mutual respect.

Vosarogo says he has reciprocated by assuring the Commander that the government will hear his views, work with him, and reference his opinions on issues of national security. The Acting Home Affairs Minister says the fact that George Speight and others may have already applied for presidential pardon is just one part of the process.

He says launching a petition requires a rigorous process of examination of character and rehabilitation.

Vosarogo says the constitution has safety gauges to ensure that no one received pardon who doesn’t deserve pardon.

He says the Mercy Commission for example, must receive a report of the trial judge or the chief justice (if the former is not available).

Vosarogo says the views of the victims should also be considered.

He says on the latter, he is sure that there would be wider consultation with security institutions who have had to bear the cost of the petitioner’s criminal actions.

Vosarogo says the Mercy Commission may also choose to dismiss a petition if it considers the application as frivolous, vexatious and without merit.

He says a petition for mercy is a recourse available to all persons convicted, not just a few but in the assessment of the petition, various considerations must be considered before the recommendation is taken to the President for the exercise of his powers.

Vosarogo says the initiation of a petition doesn’t automatically mean a release.

He says the process must be followed to the detail and the role of the Mercy Commission is to see to that detail being attended to.

The Acting Home Affairs Minister says in the meantime, the government will continue to liaise closely with the RFMF and the Fiji Police Force on law-and-order issues where necessary support is needed and receive advice from them on issues where it is needed.

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