NAURU LANDOWNERS TRUST GONE BUST

NAURU (Radio Australia, Feb. 24) - The President of Nauru has told his people that one of the major trusts set up to pay landowners interest on their phosphate royalties has no cash left to pay them.

The President says the RONWAN Trust has sought extra time to prepare its financial statements for last year.

Dowiyogo was speaking during celebrations to mark Nauru’s 35th Independence Day.

RONWAN Trust had requested that it be given until the end of February to prepare its statements on the interest payments for 2002 owing to landowners.

President Dowiyogo said he’d been informed that as at the end of January the auditors had not formally certified the amount to be paid, that there was no cash to meet the payments and that the Trust was making no real progress in getting the necessary funds.

He said the Trust's efforts to sell properties it owned had not materialized.

However, President Dowiyogo said he knew how important the payments were to the people of Nauru in what he called these days of hardship and need and he promised he'd give them more information when it was provided to him.

February 24, 2003

Radio Australia: www.abc.net.au.

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