10 Apr 2019

Kiribati legal action over ferry disaster to continue after internal dispute

7:27 am on 10 April 2019

A Kiribati NGO says it will continue to pursue legal action against the government over the Butiraoi ferry disaster, despite an internal dispute.

I Kiribati people

I Kiribati people Photo: RNZ Pacific

Last week, a body set up to represent families of Nonouti island broke away from the NGO Kiribati Citizens Against Corruption over differences.

The NGO is coordinating a lawsuit against the government for alleged gross negligence in dealing with the disaster, which killed at least 80 people last year.

Its chief executive, Ngatau Nenei, said he had withdrawn assistance for the breakaway group, Tragedy that Affects Lives or KRMN, or Kabuanibwai ae Rotaki Maiuia kain Nonouti.

He said legal fees were still a "major stumbling block" but negotiations were underway with an Australian law firm which was interested in taking the case pro bono.

Last week, KRMN spokesperson Koreea Aneli said cultural protocols had not been followed and families expected more cooperation and partnership with the NGO.

She said Mr Nenei was also using social media to continuously talk about the case without consulting families.

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