9 Apr 2013

Qarase rejects Fiji regime's Momi claims

2:02 pm on 9 April 2013

Fiji's ousted prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, has defended himself against accusations that he alienated native land while in government.

The Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum accused Mr Qarase of breaching the constitution when he helped to arrange a land-swap deal in 2006 to facilitate a private investment in Momi Bay.

Mr Qarase said in a press release that there was no loss of native land, it was in accordance with the laws of the day and landowners were duly compensated.

He also said the Momi Bay Resort development would be complete now if it wasn't for the 2006 coup.

Our correspondent Ricardo Morris says the government is at pains to point out it isn't anti-indigenous, after concerns were expressed by indigenous leaders over a lack of protections for native land in the new proposed constitution.

"The land is more than physical; there is also a spiritual connection to the land. so, you could understand the fears and concerns of the indigenous population regarding their land."

Ricardo Morris.