3 Mar 2006

China to check Fiji bank backer claims

4:32 pm on 3 March 2006

The Chinese embassy in Suva has begun background checks on the organisation which has offered to give 3.5 billion US dollars to set up a bank for indigenous Fijians.

Radio Legend says this has been confirmed by a spokesman for the Chinese embassy.

The spokesman says the embassy would be contacting the authorities in China to obtain further details on the organisation.

But he says it would be impossible track down any organisation which does not have an address or an official document.

The new development comes after the chairman of the Viti Land and Resource Owners Association, Ratu Osea Gavidi, claimed that the Chief of Cabinet of the Office of International Treasury Control, Dr Keith Scott, and his organisation are based in China.

Ratu Osea says the organisation has already invested 400 billion dollars in China.

Dr Scott had told the meeting of middle level chiefs earlier this week that the first payment of 2.3 billion US dollars would arrive by yesterday.

Radio Legend says when questioned on why the transfer had not taken place, Ratu Osea said there was no bank account in Fiji that could hold such a large amount of money.

Dr Scott is due to leave Fiji later today after signing a memorandum of understanding with Ratu Osea and his indigenous landowners' association.