24 Aug 2006

Embattled Fiji company seeks support from country's President

10:00 am on 24 August 2006

The indigenous Fijian company which suffered a board and management coup earlier this month, Ba Provincial Holdings, has involved President Iloilo in its internal power struggle.

The new chairman of Ba Holdings, Ratu Tevita Momoedonu, has written to the President's Office asking him to intervene with the government to remove representatives of the West Indies mobile phone company, DIGICEL, from the country within 24 hours.

In the letter to President Iloilo, Ratu Tevita says it is disturbing that a part of Ba province, the Yasawas, has plans to go into partnership with DIGICEL to run a mobile telephone service.

Ratu Tevita says it is apparent from this that business interests have superseded traditional blood ties, relationships and values, and he accuses DIGICEL of "undermining indigenous sovereignty and stability."

He says as such it has become a national security issue which has already caused violence** and is likely to cause more.

Ratu Tevita then asks the president, who as Tui Vuda is the highest ranking chief of Ba, to intervene with the government and order DIGICEL out of the country.

But the president's secretary has written back to Ratu Tevita telling him not to involve Ratu Josefa Iloilo in his company's dealings and that the president is not obliged to issue any letter ordering DIGICEL out of the country.

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