17 Oct 2003

Fiji hydro-claim lawyer holds back on suing PM

11:44 am on 17 October 2003

A lawyer for a group of landowners in Fiji says he is waiting for an explanation from the prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, before following a threat to take legal action against him.

Sireli Fa says Mr Qarase visited his clients, who are in the middle of litigation against the Fiji Electricity Authority, and tried to persuade them to compromise an action that is presently before the courts.

Mr Fa says the Prime minister's actions were prejudicial to the case and he was interfering with witnesses.

Mr Fa says he cannot understand the prime minister's actions.

"It's very difficult to logically discern the Prime Minister's motive, but the fact of the matter is, that his conduct is wrong, and it's illegal and prejudicial. We're quite stunned about it, so we want to give the Prime Minister the benefit of the doubt on this, because from where we stand, all we see is not very good."

Sireli Fa's clients have a 26-million US dollar compensation claim for land at the main hydro power site at Monasavu.