Conflict & Justice

Former Fiji minister questioned in New Zealand over Frank Bainimarama assassination plot


Fiji's military leader "Frank" Voreqe Bainimarama speaks at a press conference in Suva, Fiji.



New Zealand intelligence agents investigating an alleged plot to assassinate Fiji's Prime Minister "Frank" Voreqe Bainimarama have raided the homes of several Fiji nationals — including a former Fijian government minister — in Auckland, NZ media reported.

Fiji has been under the control of a military regime since Bainimarama seized power in a coup in 2006.

Former Fiji cabinet minister Rajesh Singh — leader of the Movement for Democracy in Fiji, which calls for the return of democracy in Fiji — told the Fairfax media that a woman came to his home on Tuesday saying she was from NZ's Security Intelligence Service (SIS).

The woman, accompanied by two plain-clothes police officers, seized his mobile phone and his daughter's laptop.

She claimed to have a warrant for the search but refused to show it to him, saying it was classified.

The SIS questioned Singh over an alleged plot to assassinate Bainimarama and Fiji's Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, the New Zealand Herald reported, citing an interview with One News.

Singh denied any knowledge of the alleged plot and said he did not condone it, the Herald wrote.

Usiah Waqatairewa, from the Movement for Democracy's Australian wing, told Radio Australia he was unaware of any assassination plot.

"We have never advocated violence and it has never come up in any of our discussions," he said.

Singh said the movement in Fiji was being targeted because of their association with Roko Ului Tevita Mara, a military figure living in exile in Tonga who was allegedly involved in this supposed plot.

He reportedly told One News he would lodge a complaint with the Human Rights Commission and Ombudsman.

A spokesman for Prime Minister John Key refused any comment.

"This is an operational matter. We have no comment on security and intelligence matters." 

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