16 Oct 2003

Fiji PM snubbed bu Moasavu landowner clans

11:10 am on 16 October 2003

Five indigenous landowning clans at Fiji's main hydro power site at Monasavu snubbed the prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, yesterday when they refused to attend a meeting with him to resolve outstanding compensation claims.

But the Fiji Times reports that two other clans which attended the meeting agreed to settle the compensation claim out of court.

The state-owned Fiji Electricity Authority agreed to pay 26 million US dollars to the Monasavu landowners after they seized the dam and hydro power station in the political turmoil after the May 2000 coup and caused more than two months of blackouts.

The pay-out has been held up by disputes which have been taken to court.

Mr Qarase is quoted as telling the landowners that negotiations for the compensation would begin once all seven clans agree to settle out of court.

But a lawyer for the disputing clans, Isireli Fa, says their case would go to the Hgh Court next week and a hearing date set for early next year.