Chief of Defence admits he didn’t know Colonel was implicated in allegations of torture.

Australia’s Defence Force chief was caught off guard by revelations that a Fijian officer, who ascended to the role of deputy commander overseeing 3000 troops, was implicated in allegations of torture.

Colonel Penioni Naliva was designated as the deputy commander of the 7th Brigade stationed in Brisbane, as part of an initiative to integrate Pacific officers into the ADF.

Acknowledging a breakdown in standard procedures, Chief of the Defence Force Angus Campbell conceded his lack of awareness regarding the allegations and accepted responsibility for the oversight.

In a parliamentary inquiry on Wednesday, General Campbell admitted to shortcomings in the vetting process and pledged to conduct a thorough review to fortify the system.

Despite the allegations, Colonel Naliva has not been suspended; instead, he has been allowed to work remotely to support his family during what General Campbell described as a “fairly stressful circumstance.”

General Campbell emphasized that the allegations were unconfirmed, and no formal complaint had been lodged with authorities. He revealed that the appointment of embedded personnel, including Colonel Naliva, is under review to prevent similar oversights in the future.

Colonel Naliva was recommended for the position by the Fijian military, and he assumed his role in late January. The ADF had relied on assurances from the Fijian government regarding the colonel’s clean record in terms of police and national security clearance.

During the inquiry, Susan Bodell, a department official, acknowledged the failure to present crucial information to the Chief of the Defence Force during the appointment process, attributing it to an oversight that they are striving to rectify.

She explained that when a person resides in their home country, the ADF relies on the local authorities to certify their criminal record status, highlighting a gap in information that was not addressed during Colonel Naliva’s appointment.

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One comment

  • KEVIN BELL February 14, 2024   Reply →

    Cambell should resign. He has not taken any responsibility for the so-called war crimes (2012). The ADF at this point in time is the weakest it has been in decades, no drones, no ships armed to deploy, no missiles and no recruits. Bloody wonderful. ln the pacific region we have the most serious threat in 70 years and just to help us all we have Albanese and Black out Bowen. Australia the lucky country!!

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