19 Dec 2002

Samoan villagers seek increased compensation for land sold to the government

11:34 am on 19 December 2002

Traditional leaders and chiefs in Samoa's Salelologa village are suing the government for 13.3 million US dollars over it's purchase of over 2800 acres of customary land.

The Matais say that the 13.3 million dollars is for compensation on top of the 1.3 million they received last year when they sold the forest land to the government to build a new township.

During the Supreme Court hearing this week, witnesses from the Department of Lands, Survey and Environment say that the Matais had negotiated the final purchase sum during four meetings with the government last year.

The Salelologa Matai's are claiming that their orator, Matamua had agreed to the government's offer without the village's consent and that the rainforest land was worth more.

Government plans to turn Salelologa into a Savaii harbour township have been criticised by environmentalist because the area is home to birds and plants found only in Samoa.