Three RFMF and one Police investigation conducted into the 2000 coup found no evidence of wrongdoing by Tarakinikini

Three RFMF and one Police investigation conducted into the 2000 coup found no evidence of wrongdoing by Tarakinikini

By Vijay Narayan
Tuesday 14/03/2023
Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka and Lt. Col. Filipo Tarakinikini

The Fijian government states that the three RFMF and one Police investigation conducted into the 2000 coup found no evidence of wrongdoing by Lt Colonel Filipo Tarakinikini.

The government says this means the Fiji Labour Party allegations that Tarakinikini supported the 2000 coup and that he attended meetings with Apisai Tora and Police Commissioner Isikia Savua are false and totally unfounded as revealed in the four investigations.

It has also been revealed that prior to the 2000 coup, Lt Col Tarakinikini, amongst a number of other RFMF senior military officers had applied for a position in the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations in New York.

The government says it was a competitive process and Lt Col Tarakinikini was selected on merit however it says due to interferences from those behind a smear campaign against Tarakinikini, the UN withdrew the job offer.

It says when the then Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase became aware that Lt Col Tarakinikini was the victim of a smear campaign, Qarase requested the UN Secretary General to restore the job offer from the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations.

It has been confirmed that Lt Col Tarakinikini only worked for the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations for one year.

He resigned from the RFMF in 2002 and the Army Commander at the time, Voreqe Bainimarama, refused to accept his resignation.

Lt Col Tarakinikini sought relief from the High Court in Suva and won his case, because no evidence could be provided to the court to support the allegations against him. The Appeals Court and Supreme Court then ruled otherwise. Lt Col Tarakinikini has worked for UNDP from 2003 until 2018.

During these fifteen years he was assigned by UNDP to Jerusalem, Kathmandu, Islamabad, the Darfur region of Sudan, Yemen and Libya.

These are some of the most high risk and complex UN operations.

From 2018 until he took early retirement in December 2022, Lt Col (retired) Tarakinikini worked for the UN Secretariat in New York as the UNDSS Chief of Section of the Middle East and North Africa region.

Former Army Commander and former Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama had made numerous public threats in the Fiji media against Lt Colonel Tarakinikini; even including a media report that Lt Col Tarakinikini would be arrested and extradited to Fiji to face charges.

Lt Col Tarakinikini returned to Fiji for the first time in over two decades in July 2022 while the Bainimarama government was still in office.

The only issue that is shown in the Immigration database in Nadi is that he should contact the Fiji Revenue Customs Service to deal with his Tax Returns from 1997 to 2000.

The statement says he is collaborative with FRCS to resolve this issue.

The government says to hold Lt Col Tarakinikini responsible for the actions of George Speight and Shane Stevens is the height of absurdity.

It says both individuals were charged and convicted through the due process of law.

The government says Lt Col Tarakinikini was subjected to due process and was totally cleared of any wrongdoing.

It further says the RFMF investigations cleared Lt Col Tarakinikini of any wrongdoing.

The government says Lt Colonel Viliame Seruvakula was in command of 3FIR and Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama was in command of the RFMF prior to during and after the 2000 coup.

It says Lt Col Tarakinikini on the other hand was pursuing academic studies and was actually sitting his MBA accounting exam at USP on the day the 2000 coup took place.

It further says Lt Col Tarakinikini was not in command of any troops in 2000.

The government says when requested by the acting Commander Colonel Alfred Tuatoko, Tarakinikini eventually played a significant part in the resolution of the 2000 coup as military spokesman and military negotiator.

Tarakinikini has been appointed as Fiji’s Acting Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York.

Prime Minister, Sitiveni Rabuka has stated that the position will be advertised and Tarakinikini is expected to apply.

On the allegations made against Tarakinikini, Deputy Prime Minister, Manoa Kamikamica says that is a matter that the media can get addressed from Tarakinikini.

Tarakinikini has not made any comments.

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