NEWS

PM Orders Land Probe

Police to investigate row between two Nukuloa  Village brothers over a 2941 acre land lease The Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama, yesterday called for an investigation by Police into a row
17 Feb 2018 12:01
PM Orders Land Probe

Police to investigate row between two Nukuloa  Village brothers over a 2941 acre land lease

The Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama, yesterday called for an investigation by Police into a row over an alleged illegal iTaukei land deal in Nukuloa, Ra.

The issue came to light after a 61-year-old Ra villager told the PM’s consultation meeting in Rakiraki he was cheated into an illegal land dealing by his older brother.

He claimed the 2941 acres of land which belonged to his mataqali was leased out to a European man without his consent.

“Just yesterday my older brother called and told me that our mataqali land has been leased out to a European man for logging since 2016. He told me about it two years later and I was surprised because I know that I didn’t sign any documentation for that land to be leased out.

“I know my rights as an iTaukei landowner. I should be part of the signing of the documents and consultation on any matters concerning mataqali land.

“This is painful and still we don’t even know where the lease money has gone to,” the father of six said.

In response, Mr Bainimarama said “the Police will conduct an investigation on this matter and they will have to bring in your brother, I want to see an outcome after the investigations are done.”

Commissioner of Police, Brigadier-General, Steven Qiliho confirmed he was aware of the matter brought to him by Mr Bainimarama.

“I have told my officers in Tavua to start investigations but at the moment I will not be able to reveal much information because it is still at its initial stages. By next week I am expecting a report from my officers on this matter.

“We need to understand what kind of land is this whether transactions were made through iTaukei Land Trust Board or the Ministry of Lands,” he said.

iTaukei Land Trust Board General Manager, Tevita Kuruvakadua, said: “They will need to lodge a proper application for any lease process and 60 per cent of consent should be from the landowners, but I will need to clarify this issue.”

Edited by Naisa Koroi

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