UPDATED: A top Fijian military leader who fled his country in 2011 causing a war of words between Fiji and Tonga has been given an island and appointed by His Majesty King Tupou VI as his private secretary according to a report this week.
Ratu Uluilakeba Tevita Mara a former Army Chief of Staff in Fiji was charged for attempting to overthrow Bainimarima's government in 2010.
Following Mara’s appearance in a Fijian court for his charge and while released on bail his family contacted their royal family in Tonga and asked to help rescued Mara, unconfirmed information said.
Tonga navy under a royal order arrived in Lau group and secretly picked up Mara in May 2011.
Bainimarama’s regime was furious after it learnt Tonga navy crossed its sea zone and rescued Mara but the Tongan authorities officially said it was "attracted to a distress signal" south of the Fiji's Lau groups, 365 kilometres west of Nuku'alofa.
Since then Mara was given sanctuary by the Tongan royals.
His co-accused Pita Diriti was sentenced in Fiji early this month for 5 years imprisonments.
Mara’s grandfather Sir Edward Tuivanuavou Tugi Cakobau was a half-brother of Tonga’s Queen Salote Tupou III.
Tonga’s current king, His Majesty Tupou VI is Queen Salote’s grandson.
Fiji Sun says the king’s sister Princess Pilolevu has given Mara an island while the king appointed him as his private secretary.
The website did not give the name of the island.
Mara told Sun he is developing it for eco-tourism.
Visiting New Zealand in 2011 Mara told an audience in Auckland that Bainimarama’s government is “repressive”, “oppressive” and “illegal”.
The only solution is to restore democracy, he said.
The Fiji Sun website says the Tongan royals have asked Mara to avoid further voicing his political views against Fiji’s regime to keep the peace between the two countries.