24 May 2002

Ownership row in Fiji over Studio City land

2:29 pm on 24 May 2002

A row has developed in Fiji over the ownership of land which is to be the site of a proposed one billion US dollar Studio City.

The land in question is at Yaqara in north western Viti Levu.

Answering questions in parliament, the prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, said the land belongs to resident of Drauni-ivi village.

Mr Qarase said the former state land was allocated to them because they satisfied certain conditions laid down by the Native Land Trust Board.

He said the land did not belong to the Naboulou landowning unit of Tavua and they could take their claim to the court.

But a spokesman for the Naboulou landowners has attacked the government for fooling them and told the prime minister to check his facts.

Noa Sakava says they have proof from the Native Lands Commission that the Studio Cityt land is theirs and will take the matter to court.

The billion dollar Studio City development will mean enormous financial returns to the landowners as well as jobs in a virtually undeveloped part of Fiji.