The Fiji Labour Party has condemned the appointment of former RFMF officer Colonel Filipo Tarakinikini as Fiji’s Acting Permanent Representative to the United Nations.
Labour Leader, Mahendra Chaudhry is urging Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka to reconsider the appointment.
Chaudhry says Tarakinikini escaped being brought to justice when former Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase facilitated his appointment as Senior Planning Officer with the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations in New York in March 2001.
The FLP Leader says former Army Commander and Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama had made it clear that Tarakinikini would be arrested on his return to Fiji.
Chaudhry says the RFMF Board of Inquiry Report set up in August 2000 to investigate the Army’s involvement in the coup questions a number of Tarakinikini’s alleged actions at the time of the crisis, including an alleged call he made to the Army camp at 2.30am on 19th May wanting to speak to a CRW soldier closely linked to the takeover later that morning.
Chaudhry says Tarakinikini’s appointment should be rescinded and he should be brought back to Fiji to answer to the allegations.
The FLP Leader says the appointment is also irregular and in breach of the establishment rules in the civil service in that a person cannot be recruited to an acting position from outside the service.
We have sent questions to the Prime Minister’s Office. He is yet to respond.
Former Republic of Fiji Military Forces spokesperson,(Retired) Colonel Filipo Tarakinikini has been appointed as Fiji’s Acting Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York.
Acting Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Pita Wise confirms that Tarakinikini will act in the position until the post is advertised, and a selection is made.
Tarakinikini replaces Doctor Satyendra Prasad.
The former military spokesperson served the United Nations for over 20 years after resigning from the RFMF.
Tarakinikini worked at the UN headquarters as a Senior Planning Officer and was on secondment from the RFMF, approved by the late former Qarase led government, for a period of one year.
However the Army Commander at the time, Voreqe Bainimarama announced that the military will charge Tarakinikini either with desertion or being absent without official leave.
He had said that the senior officer will be arrested once he arrives in the country.
Tarakinikini tried to resign from New York but this was rejected by Bainimarama.
Tarakinikini was earlier selected to be the RFMF candidate to the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst in the United Kingdom.
In his resignation letter to the RFMF, Tarakinikini had said to Bainimarama that it appears to him that Bainimarama’s agenda against him was a personal one and that the investigation conducted at the time in RFMF by Bainimarama was a discriminatory and selective means to frame and purge those professional officers, including Tarakinikini, who questioned Bainimarama’s command ethics.
He also highlighted that in their telephone conversation a few weeks before the resignation, Bainimarama categorically stated that a full public commission of inquiry into the RFMF and its failures before and during the May 2000 coup is irrelevant.
Stay tuned for the latest news on our radio stations