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   Government of the Republic of Fiji

  Ministry of Foreign Affairs

    A Better Fiji through Excellence in Foreign Service

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Media Release

Prime Minister’s Statement Sunday 15/05/11


pm on tonga

We have confirmation that Ratu Tevita Mara was extracted by the Royal Tongan Navy Patrol Boat, Savua on 9 May 2011 from within Fiji's territorial waters.

Preliminary investigations nullify the claims of a search and rescue mission off Southern Ono i Lau, however we can confirm that the illegal extraction of Ratu Tevita Mara took place one Nautical Mile North West of cape Washington in Kadavu.

The Fijian government takes strong exception to such breaches of Fiji's sovereignty. I intend to communicate with the Tongan Prime Minister within the next 24 hours about these breaches.
Following his appearance in court on 4 May 2011, Ratu Tevita was to have surrendered his passport by 10am the next day, after he was granted bail.

He did not surrender his passport, and did not report to police last Friday, 13 May as ordered by the court thus breaching his bail conditions. His fleeing Fiji, now makes him a fugitive under the Extradition Act. The DPP will present various documentation to the courts tomorrow morning to commence extradition proceedings of this fugitive.

The fleeing and extraction of Ratu Tevita also demonstrates to us all that there are some people in Fiji who have facilitated this illegal act. In this respect, the Commissioner of Police has already commenced investigations to find out who facilitated the fleeing of an accused person and conspired to breach Fiji's sovereignty. This is unfortunate and shows a fundamental disloyalty to Fiji, Fijian laws and the Fijian people.

Ratu Tevita's actions is an act of despicable nature for one who is accused of offences against Fijian law. Apart from the charges of sedition, investigations have revealed his involvement in the unaccounted 3 Million dollars from Fiji Pine Trust. The Government of Fiji is committed to ensuring that the independence of its judiciary is upheld and all who break the law are held accountable.

Government intends to maintain our long harmonious relationship with the Kingdom of Tonga despite the actions of one fugitive. It would be unfortunate for one individual to compromise his historical relationship. I urge the Tongan Royal Family, the Tongan Prime Minister, the Government of the Kingdom of Tonga and moreso the people of Tonga who i know cherish their inextricable cultural, economic and socio-political ties with Fiji to stop this conspiracy by a handful of self-interested individuals.

Vinaka.

(Photo caption: The Prime Minister at the Media Conference Sunday 15th May 2011)