9 Mar 2005

Fiji's Daily Post editor says other bidders trying to shut it down

4:23 pm on 9 March 2005

The editor of Fiji's Daily Post newspaper says the only complaints being made about the government decision to sell its shares in the paper come from its competitors.

Mesake Koroi says the bid was awarded to Belmont Trading of Australia which already owned 49 percent of the paper.

He says the motivation behind the other bidders is likely to be an attempt to shut down the Daily Post because all three were connected to the Fiji Sun newspaper, with one, CJ Patel, its major shareholder.

Mr Koroi says it's not true that Belmont put in the lowest bid because it presented an attractive package to the government.

"We will purchase these shares at X cents in every dollar, and then as a bonus to government over the next number of years, we will pay you a certain amount of money to top our offer, and on top of that, they guaranteed the jobs of 73 people that work here."

Mesake Koroi says Belmont Trading now has a majority shareholding in the Daily Post and will buy the balance of the shares in five years time.