TC Winston

5 New Zealand soldiers to face charges for alleged drug use in Fiji

Five soldiers of the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) will face charges for allegedly involving with ‘unknown substance’ while on operation in Fiji post-TC Winston. In a statement, a spokesperson from the NZDF confirmed that the five soldiers will be facing charges. NZDF: “Five soldiers in the NZ Army will face charges related to alleged drug […]

Staff Writers

June 30, 2016 12:01 pm

Five soldiers of the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) will face charges for allegedly involving with ‘unknown substance’ while on operation in Fiji post-TC Winston.

Officers from the New Zealand Defence Force accompanied by the New Zealand's High Commissioner to Fiji, Mr Mark Ramsden, Minister for Disaster Management, Inia Seruiratu, and Republic of Fiji Military Forces Commander Rear Admiral Viliame Naupoto in Vanua Balavu last week. (NZ Defence Force/Facebook)
Officers from the New Zealand Defence Force accompanied by New Zealand’s High Commissioner to Fiji, Mr Mark Ramsden, Minister for Disaster Management, Inia Seruiratu, and Republic of Fiji Military Forces Commander Rear Admiral Viliame Naupoto in Vanua Balavu post-TC Winston. (NZ Defence Force/Facebook)

In a statement, a spokesperson from the NZDF confirmed that the five soldiers will be facing charges.

NZDF: “Five soldiers in the NZ Army will face charges related to alleged drug offending whilst serving with HMNZS Canterbury in Fiji. The charges will be dealt with at the summary trial level by the accuseds’ commanding officers in the coming weeks.

NZDF said that an investigation continues for one of the five officers.

NZDF: “There remains an on-going investigation in respect of one sailor.”

Five New Zealand Defence Force staff were told to stand down after an incident involving an ‘unknown substance’ while on operation in Fiji.

New Zealand Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee at the Suva Helicopter landing zone this afternoon. (Peni Shute/Newswire)
New Zealand Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee at the Suva Helicopter landing zone this afternoon. (Peni Shute/Newswire)

New Zealand Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee told Newswire this evening after his trip to Vanua Balavu that the Defence force will be taking the matter very seriously.

BROWNLEE: “The New Zealand Defence force has no tolerance for substance abuse and the matters that is under investigations will eventually give a conclusion to exactly what happened  and than a decision will be made at that point.”

Minister Brownlee said he has no idea what the substance is and how it got into Fiji.

BROWNLEE: “At the moment it is an allegation and is under investigation.”

Yesterday, a spokesperson for the defence force confirmed they were investigating the incident which took place on Saturday.

“The five personnel have been stood down from their normal duties while the investigation progresses. This matter has not effected the NZDF’s humanitarian support operation in Fiji.”

Stuff.co.nz reports that the substance is a drug.

About 400 defence force staff, including soldiers, engineers, aircrew and medics, are in Fiji helping in the aftermath of Tropical Cyclone Winston.

The NZ Defence force would not comment on whether the substance was found on board the ship.

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