13 Jan 2006

RIPEL calls for Solomons government needs to clarify land lease

2:34 pm on 13 January 2006

The Russell Islands Plantation Estate says the Solomon Islands government needs to clarify who owns the lease of the land the estate is on.

Landowners on Guadalcanal are taking legal action to reclaim two areas of land of Lungga and Tenaru, which they say the government illegally transferred in 1974.

The claim will also look at how RIPEL Solomons, which leased the land from the landowners in 1974, had acquired the land.

But a RIPEL spokesman, Patrick Wong, says the company has the legal right to the 10,000 hectares.

"Who hold's the title for the lease? It's RIPEL/Unilever Solomons. As a matter of fact, Im going to make a press release statement saying for the benefit of clarity and for the nation, and everybody, and for investors and all, the government needs to say who is the owner of the land - who holds the lease title."

RIPEL spokesman Patrick Wong.

RIPEL has cocoa and copra plantations but it was shut down 18 months ago when workers walked off the job in an industrial dispute.