WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) - Fiji's interim Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama has called for the resignation of Fiji Rugby Union chief executive Keni Dakuidreketi, who faces charges lodged by the Fiji Independent Commission against Corruption.
Bainimarama, a former Fiji Rugby Union president and ardent rugby fan, told domestic Fijian media Monday that Dakuidreketi, who is reportedly facing charges of abuse of office and fraud, should immediately step down.
"It's fairly clear that Keni should stay out until the case is over and if he's found not guilty then he can be brought back by the board," Bainimarama was quoted as saying. "It's unethical for him to continue while the charges are still there against him."
Fiji union chairman Bill Gavoka rejected the prime minister's call and said Dakuidreketi would remain in office while the charges against him were being investigated, the Fiji Times reported.
Gavoka also dismissed Bainimarama's claim the rugby union was actively political.
"In principle, Keni hasn't been convicted and rumors of him being convicted are not true," Gavoka was quoted as saying. "The law doesn't state that Keni must resign ... it's only fair that Keni is given the opportunity to continue doing his work as acting chief executive and attend to his case with FICAC.
"I'm a little disturbed because over the radio, the Prime Minister used the word politics. There is nothing like that at FRU."
Gavoka said the Fiji Rugby Union was an independent organization and, though it received government funding, should be allowed to carry out its activities without political interference.
Dakuidreketi said he was upset by calls for his resignation.
"I'm saddened that I've been found guilty by the highest law of the land even before the trial," he said.