15 Feb 2007

Fiji NLTB urged to use own money to pay debts

2:03 pm on 15 February 2007

Fiji's indigenous landowners are demanding that the Native Lands Trust Board should use its own money to pay debts incurred from business dealings by its former business partner, Pacific Connex.

The Fiji Sun reports the demands follow revelations landowner money may be used to pay debts of more than 210,000 US dollars incurred by Pacific Connex with which the NLTB no longer does business for the supply of computer software.

The newspaper says it has obtained guarantee documents showing that the NLTB will have to pay money owed to Credit Corporation if Pacific Connex defaults on the debt.

The NLTB's ousted general manager, Kalivati Bakaki, who has been sent on leave pending investigations, signed the documents last year.

The acting president of the Viti Land and Resource Owners Association, Ratu Osea Gavidi, says landowners are not the shareholders of Vanua Development Corporation and Pacific Connex and should not be obliged to take care of the two companies' liabilities.

Ratu Osea says they will petition the interim administration to ensure that as part of its clean-up campaign, the NLTB pays the landowners the 7.2 million dollars it owes in unpaid rent money.

It has also been revealed that Pacific Connex did not file any annual returns with the registrar of companies from 2001 to 2005.