Rugby World Cup 7s Champs Land Drama

The China Estate Development had proposed to offer 14 lots out of the 379 lots from its approved stage 1 Namalata Development Lease in Lokia to the Fijian 7s team after winning the Rugby World Cup in Cape Town, South Africa.
23 Sep 2022 11:33
Rugby World Cup 7s Champs Land Drama
Fiji Airways Fijian men’s with the Australian women’s 7s players after the official presentation for winning the Rugby World Cup Sevens 2022 at Cape Town Stadium in South Africa this morning. Photo: World Rugby

The formal presentation of 14 residential lots to the 7s World Cup Champion Fijian men’s team and its coaches scheduled for yesterday was cancelled.

This follows a number of concerns noted by the Fiji Rugby Union to the China Village Estate Development, the company that made the offer. A post on the company Facebook page claimed that due its recent communication with FRU, the company was withdrawing its proposal.

The China Estate Development had proposed to offer 14 lots out of the 379 lots from its approved stage 1 Namalata Development Lease in Lokia to the Fijian 7s team after winning the Rugby World Cup in Cape Town, South Africa.

Each lot is said to have an average value of $160,000.

Yesterday morning a post on the company’s Facebook page said: “Be informed that our celebration for the presentation of these lots is now cancelled and will inform
the public again if there is any change.”


What Transpired?

FRU chief executive officer John O’Connor in an email to the general manager of China Estate Development – Fiji Limited, Jim Raiwalui yesterday, sought necessary documentation to be presented to the FRU for verification.

He said this should be done in order to be confident of the arrangement and for the handover to proceed.

Mr O’Connor told Mr Raiwalui in the email that the ‘iTaukei Affairs’ (meaning the iTaukei Land Trust Board) had informed the FRU that any announcement and hand over should only be done when the titles were ready to be given to the coach and players for their allocated lots.

When contacted yesterday Mr O’Connor said he had already made the necessary request to the company for the documents to be presented to the FRU for their verification.

He added that the company needed to understand that all the team members were contracted to Fiji Rugby and that was his job to look after their interests such as the due diligence.


China Estate Development – Fiji Limited

In response, Mr Raiwalui said the company had the lease document for the development of Namalata NO3 (the site in Lokia) and had undertaken all the necessary work to obtain approvals for the presale from iTaukei Land Trust Board.

“The process we are following is the process of presale whereby a client is engaged and documents prepared by our lawyer, fully endorsed and will be submitted to TLTB for their final process of assignment,” he said.


He claimed that he had sent the documents of approvals from its engineers and the consent from iTLTB to the FRU CEO. In an email to the FRU CEO obtained by the Fiji Sun, Mr Raiwalui told Mr O’Connor: “We did not conspire il- legally to carry out this allocation or have any gain in it because we know that we are losing a lot of money from this.”

“But we want to do it because we want to give it as a token of our appreciation.”

“Our sale is direct with the clients and will be endorsed by the iTaukei Land Trust Board after the completion of development.”


He further said that they have also publicly withdrawn their gift or any direct dealing with the FRU and plan to only deal with the players individually in the future.

Meanwhile, two-time Olympic gold medallist and Rugby World Cup Sevens star, Jerry Tuwai, met with the company and made a joint inspection of the piece of land that was expected to be gifted to him.

The company uploaded a video of Mr Tuwai on its Facebook page thanking them for the offer.


Mr Tuwai in the video said: “I am standing here in front of my plot that was given to me and I am thankful and grateful that I can be rewarded for thinking of us and the boys and rewarding us.”

When asked about this deal, Mr O’Connor said the players need to consult the FRU on these dealings.

“Jerry will then consult us because their team manager has been briefed on this,” Mr O’Connor said.



When contacted yesterday for further clarification on the issue, iTLTB regional manager Central Eastern Region, Ema Natadra, said they would await the directive from the Executives before they could release any information.

Queries sent to the TLTB via email yesterday remained unanswered when this edition went to press.



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