REGIME TO DISSOLVE QARASE DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVE 

REGIME TO DISSOLVE QARASE DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVE

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Daily Post, Mar. 5) - A lack of financial returns since its inception in 2004 is one the reasons the Fiji Interim Government, through the Native Land Trust Board, will dissolve the operations of the Vanua Development Corporation (VDC).

VDC is the Native Land Trust Board's business arm.

The dissolution was confirmed by NLTB's acting General Manager Joveci Tuinamuana while speaking on Fiji Television's vernacular program Viti Nikua.

[PIR editor’s note: The Vanua Development Corp., an initiative of recently deposed Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase, was set up within the Native Lands Trust to generate revenue and to manage landowners’ investments.]

Tuinamuana said VDC faced imminent closure after it failed to produce any financial returns since its establishment in 2004.

The corporation was set up to finance the operations of the NLTB and reduce the poundage it deducts from lease monies.

Tuinamuana said despite millions of dollars injected into the company there had been no financial returns in the last three years.

He added that funds totalling US$2 million allocated to the NLTB by the Government during the period had been directed to VDC.

The government had proposed to abolish the company so that NLTB could focus on its core functions.

The next NLTB board meeting will be held next month and will also decide the fate of General Manager Kalivati Bakani.

Bakani had been sent on leave pending investigations into the VDC.

Meanwhile, the NLTB is one organization that will be investigated by a special independent investigation team on Fijian institutions.

Interim Fijian Affairs Minister and NLTB chairman Ratu Epeli Ganilau said among other things, the team would be required to make recommendations on how the operations and management of the board could be enhanced.

The team will be chaired by the head of the RFMF's Territorial Force Brigade, Colonel Apakuki Kurusiga, Secretary to the NLTB, Ratu Luke Yavaca, former senator Ponipate Lesavua, indigenous issues consultant Kalaveti Batibasaga, and a senior auditor of the Ministry of Finance Alifereti Roko.

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