INDIGENOUS FIJIAN DEVELOPMENT ARM TO CLOSE

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NLTB’s Vanua Development Corp. will liquidate

By Ifereimi Nadore

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Jan. 18, 2010) - THE future of Vanua Development Corporation -- the commercial and investment arm of the Native Land Trust Board -- hangs in the balance following a decision to shut down the company in 2010.

NLTB general manager Alipate Qetaki confirmed that the board decided to liquidate the company in the best interest of its stakeholders.

"We are going through the process of voluntary liquidation and we have been in touch with the Board of Directors to complete the exercise by this year," he said.

The company was subjected to intense public scrutiny since its establishment in February 2004 due to its business dealings with Pacific Connex Ltd, a company owned by Kiwi businessman Ballu Khan.

Vanua Development is wholly owned by NLTB.

Mr Qetaki said having done the necessary paper work, the process of liquidation should be legally completed by June 2010.

In 2005, Vanua Development bought one of Suva's popular nightclubs, O'Reilly's Bar. The property on the corner of MacArthur Street and Victoria Parade was bought for $4.5m from Mantra Ltd.

Meanwhile, Mr Qetaki said the management information system for the NLTB had been overhauled and successfully replaced.

He said the current system was put up by a local company, Software Factory, which successfully won the bid from 20 other rivals.

He said the company had been working under the guidance of the IT committee which comprised of some very senior staff.

He said that under the new system, the rent distribution for the landowners for November 9-19 was successfully completed with related costs kept in accordance with the budget.

"Although there are some teething problems which are now being addressed, hopefully the new systems will deliver the goods," said Mr Qetaki.

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