25 Apr 2007

Niue government to shake up Matavai board after ongoing debt fiasco

5:02 pm on 25 April 2007

The Niue government is promising a shake up of the board of the island's only hotel as a mystery group of guests face a last chance to clear debts put at around a quarter of a million US dollars.

The group, which has been linked with a Californian cult, has been staying at the island's the Matavai Resort for more than a year.

It has gone many months without paying its bills there and also owes other Niuean businesses tens of thousands of dollars.

In the wake of the debt fiasco the finance and immigration minister, Fisa Pihigia, is promising changes to the board of the Matavai, which is majority owned by the government.

"Probably we will have to re-look at the membership of the board, particularly the government members - one is the secretary to government and the other is the financial secretary. Since the appointment of my financial secretary he has never been invited to board meetings and I am concerned about that. So once this is settled I will have to do something about the membership of the board of directors."

Mr Pihigia says the group are likely to be taken into police custody by week's end if the debt is not cleared.