FIJI LANDOWNERS TO SHARE F$14.7 MILLION IN MONASAVU PAYOUT

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By Dharmend Prasad

SUVA, Fiji Islands (October 7, 1998 - Fiji Times/Pasifik Nius/Niuswire)---The Fiji Government has decided to pay F$ 10.3 million (US$ 5.05 million) to the landowning units at Monasavu as partial compensation for the lease of their land to the Fiji Electricity Authority (FEA), the Fiji Times reports.

The landowners are expected to share a further F$ 4.3 million (US$ 2.1 million) as a premium for the timber standing on the land and as compensation for the loss of productive use of the land.

A Cabinet meeting yesterday said the Native Land Trust Board had been given the go-ahead for the necessary leases to be issued to the FEA covering the 25,000 acres.

The 19 landowning units had initially demanded F$ 35 million (US$ 17.2 million) as their compensation claim over land on which the dam and the power station had been built.

However, yesterday's decision to take out leases from some of the landowning units has sparked fresh threats of legal action against the government by the landowners.

Their legal counsel, Isireli Fa, said they had no alternative but to pursue legal action against the government.

"At the outset, this decision defies logic, is irrational and fundamentally flawed," he said.

"All land in the catchment area is Native Reserve Land and the consent of the landowners for leasing of such land is required under Section 16 of the Native Lands Act.

"The consent required must meet the standard set out by law.

"The consent obtained by the government at the meeting on July 28 and 29 at the Raffles Tradewinds Convention Center in Suva does not qualify, as the document is flawed."

Title -- 1746 LAND RIGHTS: Monasavu landowners to share $14m Date -- 7 October 1998 Byline -- Dharmend Prasad Origin -- niusedita@pactok.net.au" target="_blank">niusedita@pactok.net.au Source -- Fiji Times, 7/10/98 Copyright - FT Status - Abridged This document is for educational and personal use only. Recipients should seek permission from the copyright source before reprinting. PASIFIK NIUS service is provided by the niusedita via the Journalism Program, University of the South Pacific. Please acknowledge Pasifik Nius: niusedita@pactok.net.au" target="_blank">niusedita@pactok.net.au http://www.usp.ac.fj/www/usp/soh/journ/nius/index.html

FIJI GOVERNMENT TO COMPENSATE LANDOWNERS IN DAM AREA

SUVA, Fiji Islands (October 7, 1998 - Radio Australia)---The Fiji Government has agreed to pay about AU$ 12 million dollars in compensation to land-owners affected by a hydro-electricity facility development at Monasavu.

The announcement follows a long and sometimes tense protest campaign by land-owners, and lengthy negotiations with the Government.

The Fiji Cabinet decided to pay the money as lease fees, but it is understood the land-owners will be asked to invest some of the money in the Fiji Electricity Authority.

The Government offer falls well short of the AU$ 30 million the land-owners originally sought.

And the offer has been rejected by some of the 19 land-owner units in the area, who say they will now take legal action against the Government.

A meeting of land-owners will be held in Suva later this week.

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