INTERIM GOVERNMENT TO AUDIT LAND AGENCY BOARD

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, Feb. 22) - The Interim Government's Anti-Corruption Unit will audit the operations of the Native Land Trust Board to determine any illegal work by its officers.

Interim Fijian Affairs Minister Ratu Epeli Ganilau said that any breaches of the Native Lands Trust Act "will be dealt with in accordance with the law."

Ratu Epeli made the announcement today after a meeting of the Board of the NLTB.

A special audit, to be carried out by accounting and auditing firm KPMG, will also inspect the MySAP IT system currently used by the NLTB to provide its information system.

Ratu Epeli suggested that, amongst other things, KPMG will also investigate alleged commitments of trust funds controlled by NLTB and certain agreements committing the Board in guarantees relating to its jointly-owned commercial company, Pacific Connex (PCX).

PCX's interest in the lucrative mobile phone market has at times embroiled the NLTB in controversy with some calling for the Board's commercial arm scrapped.

KPMG is to submit their final report on the audit to the full NLTB Board on April 26, 2007.

Ratu Epeli said complaints from landowners against NLTB services should be a thing of the past after the audit.

"The landowners have complained far too long and I agree that something is wrong with this organization," he said. "If any organization like NLTB has been receiving numerous complaints, then there has to be reasons for these complaints."

Ratu Epeli said the auditing of the company's IT system will ensure a more reformed and efficient IT system of NLTB.

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