7 Mar 2006

Fiji landowners threaten to sue government if financier pulls out

9:34 am on 7 March 2006

The Viti Land and Resource Owners Association has threatened to sue the Fiji government and the police if they cause the withdrawal of the so-called Organisation of International Treasury Control from their deal.

The organisation's self-styled Chief of Cabinet, a Dr Keith Scott, last week promised to give Fiji's middle level chiefs US$3.5 billion to set up a bank for indigenous Fijians and a further US$3 billion to develop their resources.

Since then the promise has come under intense government and police scrutiny with INTERPOL being called in to check their background.

OITC's lawyer, Kitione Vuetaki, has told the FIJI SUN newspaper that local and offshore lawyers are ready to take the matter to court.

Mr Vuetaki says they have not taken any money from anyone and if the police cause a loss by the withdrawal of OITC, they will be sued.

He says if the police have any complaint, they have to act within the Penal Code because OITC is not a public company.

The president of the indigenous landowners association, Ratu Osea Gavidi, says police are wasting time and money investigating OITC.

Ratu Osea says they should first charge the people who robbed the former National Bank of Fiji of US$157 million which caused its collapse.

He says the police commissioner should stop defaming people because their deal with OITC is a legal one.