2 Oct 2006

Fiji government doubts bribery claim in NLTB approval

2:59 pm on 2 October 2006

The Fiji government has dismissed claims that officials were bribed to allow two New Zealanders to develop a gay resort in the Yasawa Islands.

Indigenous landowners in the group are outraged over advertisements for the resort which have appeared on a website devoted to homosexuals.

Emails obtained by Radio New Zealand International from one of the developers says he pays several officials in the Native Lands Trust Board to interpret the law the way he wants.

He claims in the email that the NLTB is more interested in protecting investors than looking after the landowners.

And the developer says the landowners are uneducated people who are only interested in making money.

The Minister for Tourism, Tom Vuetilivoni, however doubts that anything sinister went on.

"I doubt it very much that the NLTB knew about it and went ahead and issued the license with the full knowledge of what is going to happen."

Fiji's constitution prohibits discrimination based on sexual preference but the penal code makes sex acts between men illegal.