4 May 2006

Fiji power station indigenous landowners to start getting multi million dollar compensation

9:03 pm on 4 May 2006

Indigenous landowners of Fiji's large Monasavu hydro scheme are to finally start getting their 32-million US dollars in compensation.

The award was first negotiated after the disgruntled landowners seized the installations during the May 2000 coup and disrupted power supplies for several months.

The agreement has been the subject of court action ever since between the landowners, the Native Lands Trust Board and the Fiji Electricity Authority.

But following an out-of-court settlement the prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, has now announced that the first payment of 5-point-6 million US dollars will be made before the 15th of next month.

The second payment of 600-thousand US dollars will be made in September followed by an installment of 275-thousand US dollars to a trust fund every year until all the money has been paid.

The landowners will also receive annual lease and rental payments from the Fiji Electricity Authority.

The prime minister has denied that the timing of the payment has anything to do with the general elections which begin on Saturday.