29 May 2002

Fiji's Methodist church alleged to be involved in scam

6:52 am on 29 May 2002

A report from Fiji says the country's Methodist Church does not own a piece of land for which it has been demanding 2-point-9 million US dollars.

The land, which government valuers say is worth only 66 -thousand dollars, is needed for the approach to the European Union-funded new Rewa Bridge.

The Fiji Sun reports that according to the original documents relating to the land dating to 1860, no compensation was to be paid.

A descendant of the original landowners, Ratu Loco Kalokalo, is quoted as saying the original land deal did not include the riverside land needed for the bridge which he says was later added fraudulently.

Ratu Loco says the Registry of Titles shows the church doesn't own the land in question.

The church has reduced its original demand to 440-thousand dollars.

The EU says it will 10 million US dollars for the bridge but not for land which is the responsibility of the state.