26 Mar 2003

Legal challenge not a concern for Fiji Hardwood Corporation

4:32 pm on 26 March 2003

The General Manger of Fiji Hardwood Corporation says he's not concerned about a legal challenge to government ownership of the mahogany plantations.

The challenge is from the Vanua Mahogany Landowners.

Sekope Bula says the government owned company must continue with its plans which includes advertising for a corporate adviser and business partner because the trees are ready for harvest.

The government has also reopened the tender process for the harvest of the mahogany.

Isireli Fa, lawyer for the Vanua Mahogany Landowners has criticised the government for jumping the gun because of his client's court action against the government.

Sekope Bula says the landowners challenge concerns only one out of Fiji's 14 plantations and it won't affect the Corporation's plans.

"We are going ahead, there is nothing illegal going on and it's not a challenge to the Vanua Land Owners Association, or even to the legal process, it is just something that we have to do,...it's to get as much information as we can on mahogany, which will have to be done."

Sekope Bula, General Manager of the Fiji Hardwood Corporation.