23 May 2002

Landowners seek 2 million dollar land rental from a church college

8:19 am on 23 May 2002

Landowners in Fiji have threatened to evict a large regional college operated by the Seventh Day Adventist Church unless they are paid 2 point 2 million US dollars in compensation.

The current lease for the 40 hectare site in Tailevu expires in 2004.

A spokesman for the landowners and village chief, Ratu Neumi Laqataqa, says they will be willing to renew the lease if they are paid the 2 point 2 million

But he says the Church has offered to pay them only 88 thousand dollars.

Meanwhile the Methodist Church has offered to reduce its demand of 2 point 7 million US dollars for a piece of land needed for the approach to the new European-funded Rewa Bridge to 440 thousand dollars.

However this is still more than six times higher than the valuation of 66 thousand dollars put on the land by government valuers.

The EU has said it will not pay any land compensation claims, only the 10 million US dollar cost of the bridge.