7 Mar 2005

Mago islanders planning legal action to regain their island

8:36 am on 7 March 2005

A group of villagers in Fiji whose ancestors lived on Mago Island want to file a writ to try and obtain the island back from Hollywood star, Mel Gibson.

Mr Gibson bought the island recently from its Japanese owners for 15-million US dollars.

But descendants of the original Mago islanders say it went into private hands through dirty tricks in the 19th century and they want it back.

Their spokesman, Timoci Waqalevu, has told the Fiji Times they are fundraising to mount a legal challenge.

He says they want to sue past governments including ministers of the former Alliance government headed by the late Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara who are still alive.

The attorney general, Qoriniasi Bale, says there is nothing illegal about the sale of the island which went ahead with the consent of the minister of lands, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu.