FIJI PM RABUKA DENIES SALE OF HIS ESTATE TO GOVERNMENT

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SUVA, Fiji Islands (January 6, 1999 - PACNEWS/INCL)---Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka says he will not consider selling any part of his freehold estate to the government unless there is open public bidding.

Rabuka has made the clarification in a media statement, after the Opposition raised questions about the Agriculture Ministry approaching the PM about buying his 2,000 acre freehold property.

The Ministry said it had offered US$ 1,000 per acre for the property, on Fiji's second island of Vanua Levu.

Rabuka said he will only be interested in selling part of his Valavala estate to the Ministry, if the Ministry conducts a competitive bidding process through an open public tender.

Although he confirms the Ministry had approached him, Rabuka said he assumed their interest was because he had allowed them to use part of the estate for agricultural demonstrations at no cost to government.

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