6 Jun 2008

The Cook Islands government rejects any declarations from secret meeting

12:59 pm on 6 June 2008

The Cook Islands government says it won't accept any declarations coming from a secret meeting of some traditional leaders and a New Zealand Maori businessman, Bruce Ruatapu Mita.

The Sydney based businessman last year promised the Cook Islands government that if the offshore manganese nodules are used as collateral on the futures market in New York they could almost instantly start collecting more than three billion US dollars a week.

The proposal was rejected by the government.

Mr Mita is now back in Rarotonga to convince traditional leaders that they claim ownership of the nodule resource because it lies within the Cook Islands EEZ.

"However, the Acting Solicitor General Tingika Elikiana says the closed meeting is illegal because it has not been sanctioned by the Queens Representative."

He says the traditional leaders are being influenced by Mr Mita with promises of money and their ownership of the Cook Islands EEZ.

The Deputy Prime Minister Sir Terepai Maoate has sought the advice of Police Commissioner Pat Tasker, who is now making enquiries into Mr Mita's background.