Kiribati PM Confirms Fiji Land Purchase Complete

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Property purchased for $7.9 million, timber to be harvested

By Vuniwaqa Bola-Bari

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, Sept. 30, 2014) – Kiribati president Anote Tong today confirmed that their piece of land in Vanua Levu was bought for AUD$9.3million [US$7.9 million] from a church.

And they allowed tenants that were there to harvest their food crops when it was ready before they could move in.

Tong in a press conference cleared the air on the piece of land saying that they told the previous land owners to resolve issues with the land before they concluded the deal.

The land in Vanua Levu will be used for a combination of many things says Tong.

"It was a freehold land that was owned by a church group and we paid $AUD9.3 million.

"The deal has been concluded, I know there were some talks about it." "What was agreed was that the previous land owners would resolve this; we delayed the conclusion of the deal until all was resolved," Tong said.

[PIR editor’s note: Fiji Times Online reported that ‘Fiji is the only country so far to have offered any assistance to the sinking nation of Kiribati. ... And this is despite the Kiribati Government being in constant contact with much larger powers within the region. ... "We've talked to every government, not to any particular government, at the international level and we have always made this point and I must say that up to now, there's been only one government, one country that has offered a very positive response," Kiribati President Anote Tong says. ... "And that is Fiji during the Fiji President's visit to Kiribati this year."’ It was also reported that ‘The Kiribati Government says land it purchased on Vanua Levu could be used for a variety of things but at the moment, they have no plans to relocate people there.’]

He said at the moment the land has a few acres with trees that they would soon harvest for a few hundred thousand dollars.

"Some squatters that thought they were being dealt with hard, they were not, they were allowed to stay on and harvest all their crops before they had to move and that was dealt through the courts.

We discussed this in cabinet as there were a group of Solomon Islanders that were in the middle of the land, and we had agreed that they would only occupy that." "We have checked the land and it has been used for agriculture at the moment there’s timber worth a few hundred thousand dollars so the land is suitable, it’s much more suitable then our atoll islands." "Against all of this I believe everybody is happy and everybody has been given a fair deal," he concluded.

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