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Party dares Foster to show cards

Monday, January 01, 2007

THE Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua Party says it is not worried about claims by convicted fraudster Peter Foster that the party was involved in corrupt practices.

Party spokesman Peceli Kunivuwai said the party was "innocent until proven guilty and challenged Foster to "put his cards on the table."

He was reacting to Foster's comments that he (Foster) secured evidence of corruption within the SDL while working undercover.

Foster, who reportedly returned from his Denarau home yesterday, claims to have taped conversations that prove the SDL rigged the May 2006 general election in 10 urban seats.

He claims to have joined the military's "clean-up campaign" to help rid Fiji of corruption.

Mr Kunivuwai said Foster's statements were just allegations and unless Foster came with substantial proof that they were "corrupt", the party was not bothered about his claims.

He questioned the military for going to Foster in an effort to "clean up" Fiji of corruption.

"He (Foster) is a jail bird why is the military going to Peter Foster?" said Mr Kunivuwai.

"It belittles the intelligence of the military."

Mr Kunivuwai said there were other legal avenues available to the military for revealing details of the so-called "corruption" in the party.

He said if it was proven that there was corruption within the party, they wanted the chance to defend themselves. On what action would be taken in such a situation, Mr Kunivuwai said that would be revealed if such a situation did occur.

Foster, jailed in three continents for fraud, is under police and military guard at JJ's on the Park.

He was taken to the Queen Elizabeth Barracks on Thursday.

His evidence is expected to be part of a brief to be made public by self-appointed president Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama today.

Foster has been banned by the army from making any statements to the media but has been reported saying that he wore a wire and recorded conversations with corrupt ministers.

Foster also claims to have proof that at least nine SDL ministers had taken kickbacks for favours during their terms in office.

Last week Foster was returned by the military to JJ's on the Park after a court order was served on the army, ordering it to adhere to his bail conditions that he live at the hotel.

Last Thursday, a group of soldiers took Foster from JJs and drove him to Denarau, where he stayed with his mother, Louise, at the villa they rent.

A check with the Chief Magistrate, Naomi Matanitobua revealed that she could not comment on Foster's breach of bail conditions since it was before the courts.

Presiding magistrate, John Semisi is away on vacation and could not be reached for a comment.

A source at the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions said the normal procedure for those who breach bail conditions is the issuance of a bench warrant for his immediate arrest.

The source said they were waiting for police to arrest Foster for breaching his bail conditions when he was removed from JJs.

Earlier, military spokesman Major Neumi Leweni said Foster's custody was a police matter. He said the military and the police were working in conjunction and, if required, the military would provide security.

Foster had been staying under police guard at JJ's after convincing the court he should not be held at the Korovu Prison's remand centre because the conditions were unfit for human habitation.

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