Nai Lalakai trial trial begins in Suva

Permanent Secretary for I-Taukei Affairs Mr Naipote Katonitabua outside the Suva High Court. Picture: JOVESA NAISUA

A LETTER that was published in the Nai Lalakai newspaper on April 27, 2016 was brought to the attention of the Ministry of iTaukei Affairs and this prompted its permanent secretary, Naipote Katonitabua to report the matter to police.

Mr Katonitabua said he reported the matter two months after the alleged seditious letter was published in the Nai Lalakai newspaper and he was not directed by his superiors to report the matter to police.

He stated this as part of his evidence in court when he was cross examined by defence counsel Aman Ravindra-Singh during the sedition trial against three senior officials of The Fiji Times, the company and a letter writer which commenced before Justice Thushara Rajasinghe at the High Court in Suva yesterday.

Mr Katonitabua said it was costly for Government to continuously
visit the 14 Fijian provinces and 1171 villages in the interior, remote and peri-urban areas to clarify issues and articles that were usually published in the Nai Lalakai newspaper.

The prosecution witness also claimed that most iTaukei elders and leaders rely on the Nai Lalakai newspaper for their latest news  updates, but he did not have any statistical analysis with him to back up his claims.

Mr Katonitabua, in his evidence also claimed that before he reported the matter to police, he had sent an email to The Fiji Times advising the team to clarify the misinformation that was
published in the said article.