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PM Solves Balevuto Clan’s Query On The Spot

PM Solves Balevuto Clan’s Query On The Spot
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama during the public consultation in Ba on February 15, 2018. Photo: DEPTFO News
February 16
10:53 2018

It has been two years now since 13 families within mataqali (clan or land-owning unit) taurua in Balevuto Village in Ba have been requesting for compensation payment of gravel extraction on their mataqali land.

But yesterday, Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama responded immediately and directed the Ministry of Lands to look into the matter.

Sireli Botitu, 55,  pleaded to PM Bainimarama that they wanted him to step in and resolve the issue.

“In December 2015 we met a company that wanted to extract gravel from our mataqali land. We agreed because they were contracted to carry out project works for Government. They extracted around 15, 880 cubic metres of gravel.

“We then opened bank accounts which were under the TLTB hoping that the money would be deposited there. It was a sum of $33, 984.40, and the company told us it had already paid the money to the Lands Ministry. But when we called TLTB they said nothing reached them,” he said.

In response, Mr Bainimarama questioned the Ministry of Lands officer if they were aware of the issue and that if they had made payments to TLTB.

“I want to know if you guys have the money, I want you to call now and ask them about the money, I need a result by today,” he said.

Mr Botitu said they didn’t extend the company’s contract to extract gravel because clan members were still waiting for the compensation payment from the previous year.

Mr Bainimarama then announced later in the afternoon that the compensation payment would be made today.

In response, Mr Botitu said he didn’t expect the nation’s leader to make arrangements for the payment immediately.

“I am just overwhelmed right now with the great response from our Prime Minister, our cries have been heard , this is the kind of leader we need right now,” he added.

Edited by Percy Kean

Feedback: arieta.vakasukawaqa@fijisun.com.fj

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