1 Apr 2004

Fiji land dispute at Sigatoka labelled a money ploy

3:58 pm on 1 April 2004

The Native Lands Trust Board in Fiji has dismissed a dispute surrounding the site of Sigatoka Hospital as a ploy over money.

Landowners have threatened not to renew a lease on land on which the Hospital is built unless they get a goodwill payment of 400 thousand US dollars.

The government has offered 120 thousand dollars.

The landowners' lawyer, Niko Nawaikula, says his clients have decided not to renew the expired lease and it is within their legal rights to want the hospital site back.

But the executive officer of the Native Lands Trust Board, Nimilote Naivalumaira, says the government's offer is a fair one and he's sure the situation can be resolved.

"We did the valuation of the lease, the land and all that, based on the market sales of land around those places, that's how we arrived at those figures. We'll be having another meeting with them next week officers will be conducting another round of meetings with them to try to clarify with them how we arrived at the figures and all that, and then maybe we can convince them to change their minds and all that."

The executive officer of the Native Lands Trust Board, Nimilote Naivalumaira