Kovco wasn't cleaning gun: Nelson Surprise, surprise. Did they really expect us to believe that he was cleaning his gun when he shot himself. From: AAP April 27, 2006 THE Australian soldier who died in Iraq was not cleaning his pistol at the time he was killed as has been reported, Defence Minister Brendan Nelson said today. The body of Private Jake Kovco is due to be given a service in Gippsland with full military honours, but the coffin that arrived in Melbourne this morning contained the wrong body. It has been widely reported that the 25-year-old private accidentally shot himself while cleaning his weapon in Baghdad on Friday. But Dr Nelson today said the reports were incorrect. "The family's actually quite distressed because the reports are that he was cleaning his weapon," the minister said on Macquarie radio. "He wasn't in fact cleaning his weapon. "It was near him in his vicinity and he made some kind of movement which suggests that it discharged. "There was obviously a live round in it which there should not have been and that's as much as I should probably say at the moment." Dr Nelson said Private Kovco was in his room with two others at the time of the incident and had his 9mm Browning pistol nearby. "He was in a room with two of his mates who were doing other things, working on the computer and so on," he said. Asked if he could guarantee that the defence department would not cover-up any aspect of the incident, Dr Nelson said: "Can I assure you that is definitely not going to happen". "I can assure you ... nothing will be concealed at all. "I'll just emphasise ... there is no evidence that it was anything other than an accident and nor is there any evidence that it involved either of the other two soldiers who were in the room." He said the Victorian coroner would manage Private Kovco's case once his body is returned to Australia shortly after midnight on Friday.