29 Aug 2006

Fiji landowners seek to stop major tourism development

11:40 am on 29 August 2006

A group of indigenous landowners in Fiji have filed a court injunction to stop one of the country's biggest tourism developments after the Native Lands Trust Board allegedly made payments based on forged documents.

The Fiji Sun reports that the action has been taken by landowners of four villagers in Malomalo near Sigatoka where the Natadola Beach Resort is being developed at a cost of several hundred million dollars.

Their spokesman, Ratu Tevita Korodrau, is quoted as saying the NLTB is dealing illegally with members of the landowning unit and has made payments of 6,000 US dollars based on forged documents.

He says 11 villagers whose signatures appeared on the documents said they had never signed them.

Ratu Tevita says the NLTB has failed miserably as a trustee of indigenous land and its general manager, Kalivati Bakani, should stop trying to get a mobile telephone licence and redirect his efforts to managing Fijian land.

The NLTB says it will not comment on matters that have reached the courts.