26 Jul 2006

Samoan village council at odds with government over non-payment of land lease

10:21 am on 26 July 2006

A Samoan village council has ordered several workers in a government school on Savaii Island, not to set foot on their land or to further harvest the school's agricultural crops, unless the government pays overdue lease fees.

The land is being used for the running of the only government college on the island.

The village council says the government owes them about 2000 US dollars in fees for the last three years.

But the chief executive of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment is disputing the village claim.

Tu'u'u Ieti Taule'alo, says the ministry has ceased lease payment after discovering in a land review the 120 acres belong to the government and not the village.

The former Member of Parliament and high chief of the village, Leota Lu, disagrees

He says his village of Matautu Avao, was awarded the ownership of the property in a Lands and Titles court ruling back in 1955.

He has called on the ministry to explain how the ownership of the land has been changed.