31 Aug 2006

West Indies phone company seeks apology from Fiji businessman

9:45 am on 31 August 2006

The West Indies-based mobile telephone operator, DIGICEL, has demanded a written apology from the new chairman of Fiji's Ba Provincial Holding Company for making defamatory statements against it.

Fiji TV reports that DIGICEL's chairman, Dennis O'Brien, has given Ratu Tevita Momoedonu until tomorrow (Friday) to apologise or face legal action.

In a letter to Ratu Tevita, Mr O'Brien says statements he made in letters to the Office of the President and to the minister for information earlier this month were extremely defamatory and untrue.

He says DIGICEL is not corrupt nor did it collude with, mislead or deceive the people of Ba or the Fiji government in order to obtain a mobile phone licence.

Mr O'Brien has told Ratu Tevita his statements are false, malicious and unjustifiable, and highly damaging to the company's reputation.

Mr O'Brien is demanding a public apology in a form approved by DIGICEL and compensation for the damage to the company's reputation and other costs.

Meanwhile, Fiji police have confirmed they are investigating threats made by Ratu Tevita that there would be bloodshed if DIGICEL is given a licence to operate in Fiji.