NATION

Financial Entitlement Of Widow Of Former Tui Nadi Dismissed

  An appeal advanced by the widow of the former Tui Nadi, Ratu Napolioni Dawai, to claim financial entitlements was dismissed in the Court of Appeal on March 8, 2018.
15 Mar 2018 10:00
Financial Entitlement Of Widow  Of Former Tui Nadi Dismissed

 

An appeal advanced by the widow of the former Tui Nadi, Ratu Napolioni Dawai, to claim financial entitlements was dismissed in the Court of Appeal on March 8, 2018.

The appellant, Laise Kacilala Dawai, filed an appeal against the judgment of the High Court in Lautoka dated April 15, 2016.

The judgment stated that the dispute revolved around the appointment of Tui Nadi.

Immediately after the late Ratu Napolioni ascended to the position of Tui Nadi in November 1994, a rival group installed Ratu Rokomatu as the Tui Nadi.

Despite contested litigation for a number of years between Ratu Napolioni and Ratu Rokomatu over the right succession to the Tui Nadi, the Native Lands Trust Board (NLTB) and the iTaukei Land and Fisheries Commission (TLFC) had accepted Ratu Napolioni as the rightful holder of the position.

However the TLFC made payments due to Tui Nadi, to Ratu Napolioni from 1994 to 2000 until an injunction was issued on March 16, 2000 debarring the Native Lands and Fisheries Commission and the NLTB from making payments to the holder of the office of Tui Nadi until further order by the Court.

Ratu Napolioni passed away in October 2008, while the injunction was still in force. After his passing, his spouse filed a Court action on November 19, 2012 against the iTaukei Lands Trust Board (TLTB) claiming the Tui Nadi’s financial entitlements to be paid to her which was suspended as a result of the injunction.

By way of written submissions in response, the TLTB submitted that the, “entitlement is only while you are still alive, when an iTaukei person dies, all entitlements to lease moneys ceases at the point of death.”

The TLTB maintained that Mrs Dawai was not entitled to the entitlements of the Tui Nadi after his death.

However, Mrs Dawai affirmed that all entitlements within her late husband’s lifetime should be treated as his personal income and should accrue to his estate.

Further she submitted that she was entitled to whatever money that was lying in favour of the late Tui Nadi which accrued to him prior to his death, but remains with the Board.

In its order, the Court of Appeal dismissed Mrs Dawai appeal on the grounds that the learned High Court judge did not err in law and in fact when he dismissed the case due to the amendment to the first paragraph of Regulation 11 of the iTaukei Land Trust (Leases and Licenses) Regulations which came into effect on December 31, 2010 and applied to monies which were yet to be distributed as of January 1, 2011.

Edited by Jonathan Bryce



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