Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Garbage In -Garbarge Out.

Fiji Army has joined the chorus of objectors to the recent appointment of the Fiji ambassador to Malaysia.

Fiji Sun Article excerpt outlines the other side of the story.

Envoy was coup backer

Army queries diplomat post
BSamanthaHA RINA

The military is baffled at the recent appointment of what it calls a coup perpetrator as a diplomat. It expressed reservation at the appointment of Ratu Epeli Kanaimawi, as Fiji's high commissioner to Malaysia claiming that his involvement in the 2000 political crisis was common knowledge.
as the chairman of the Assembly of Christian Churches, he asked the army commander not to pursue charges against personnel involved in the 2000 crisis, army spokesman Major Neumi Leweni said yesterday.
Furthermore, he was one of the four people that lobbied the President, Ratu Josefa Iloilo, not to appoint Laisenia Qarase as the interim Prime Minister because they wanted Adi Samanunu (Cakobau) instead to lead the caretaker government.
Because of his involvement in the 2000 coup, Major Leweni said the military could not comprehend the reasons behind Ratu Epeli's appointment.
“However it'’s the Governments choice and they should be able to tell the public their reasons for appointing such people, he said. Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase did not wish to comment yesterday saying only that if there were allegations against Ratu Epeli, they should be referred to the police.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Kaliopate Tavola and his chief executive officer Isikeli Mataitoga could not be reached for comments after their mobile phones were switched off.
Converted coup convict Maciu Navakasuasua had identified Ratu Epeli as one of the church leaders that had rendered their support to those involved in the illegal takeover of 2000.
Ratu Epeli, he said, had also been considered by the George Speight civilian government as a possible candidate for the Prime Ministers position in 2000.
Mr Navakasuasua named Ratu Epeli, Pastor Poate Mata and then Methodist church president Reverend Tomasi Kanailagi as strong supporters of the illegal act.
Ratu Epeli had earlier told the Fiji Sun on Sunday night that he would comment on the issue once he received a final confirmation from Government concerning his posting.

More media skirmishes for the NLTB P.R department as the flak of unfulfilled proises erupt in their midst. Fiji Sun Political Editor throws in his five cents worth.

NLTB must come out clean

Political Editor

It is time that the Native Land Trust Board cleared the air on allegations levelled against it by landowners. Some landowners have lost faith in the NLTB, an institution established with a legal obligation to act in the interests of the landowners.
Some landowners are not happy with what has been happening and this is because they are not well informed of the changes made.
According to the NLTB website, the Native Land Trust Board was established under the Native Land Trust Act of 1940. It comprises the President of Fiji as president, the Minister for Fijian Affairs as chairman and a 10-member board of trustees.
The board may delegate some of its powers to the general manager who with other officers carries out the board's plans and instructions.

The primary role of the board is to administer native land for the benefit of the indigenous landowner. As custodian of Fijian owned land, NLTB recognises its responsibility to the indigenous landowners and the nation to ensure that land and natural resources are used and managed in a wise and sustainable manner.
The board must also ensure that the unique and important features of the Fijians natural and cultural heritage are set aside and protected for the benefit of present and future generations.

The NLTB, as administrator of the largest tract of landmass in Fiji, plays an important and essential role in the development of Fiji. It is required to make available native land that is outside reserve for development.
However, in doing this, the NLTB is statutorily required to satisfy itself that the land to be opened up for development will not be required by its native owners during the currency of the lease or licence.
The board is required to collect land rentals and distribute them to landowning units according to a formula prescribed by law.

Not under false pretences!

The NLTB is the body that links investors to landowning units who own the land earmarked for any type of development and it is therefore important for investors to contact the board if they intend to use native land for development purposes.

That role can now be undertaken by landowning units under strict legal defintions, as demonstrated by the Monasavu compensation case.

Landowners can be rest assured that the NLTB is an institution specifically established for them.
However, it now seems that the landowners and the NLTB are not working as a partners.
Why is this happening?

Do NLTB officers often visit landowners to discuss with them of the BoardÂ’s role?
There is not enough communication and this must be addressed.
Some landowners have even suggested that they administer their own land and not the NLTB.
They should be reminded that the importance of the NLTB stems from the tasks it has been assigned to carry out under the Native Land Trust Act.

Point of contention from S.i.F.M for the editor that, laws can be amended to take into account the non-performance of the trust guardian. By all defintions, the trust guardians have wilfully breeched the fiduiciary rights of the land owner. A cardinal sin.

The institution website says principal among these is the requirement to administer native land for the benefit of the Fijian owners. As native land continues to be opened up for development, it would be cumbersome and irrational to expect a potential investor to visit every single member of the landowning unit for assent to lease.
Another problem that may arise is the irregularity of lease conditions. The board has the expertise needed by the indigenous landowner to effectively manage his land.

It is sad that a group of landowners has filed a court in junction to stop tourism development work on their land after the NLTB allegedly made payments based on forged documents.

Why should it be sad for the landowners? Apparently the only distress is clearly on the N.L.T.B side.

The Tokatoka Nahoni, which includes villages of Naveisabasaba, Vusama, Batiri and Togobula in the Tikina of Malomalo in the province of Nadroga/Navosa claims that the board conned them with false promises.
Spokesman Ratu Tevita Korodrau said a $10,000 payment was not made to the right people.
Tui Nahoni Ratu Apenisa Cokanauto Rakuro and three other members of the Tokatoka filed an injunction application against the board and Natadola Holdings Limited.
The NLTB officials put together a list of people that agreed to the payout, said Ratu Tevita.
"“We found out later that 11 of the signatures were forged. These people said they never signed the documents.
“When I went to enquire about the payment the NLTB statement of royalty payment and proceeds no 2/2005 stated a total income received of $10,537.46 but total distribution payable was zero,
The NLTB must clear the air on this allegation because it is very serious.
How can NLTB officers be part of an illegal act of obtaining forged signatures of some landowners?".

I know the matter is now before the court but a least the NLTB should issue a statement on the matter. The landowners used the media to air their concern and the NLTB should follow suit.

Using the Fiji Sun political editor as a mouth piece, they just did!

Another case that the NLTB must clear the air on is its involvement with Mr Ballu Khan.
The wife of the jailed Turaga na Qaranivalu Ratu Inoke Takiveikata, Vilisi Takiveikata alleged that Mr Khan, Mr Bakani and representatives of Pacific Connex had visited her husband to seek his support for the issuance of their mobile telephony licence.

Again this is a serious allegation and the NLTB must clear the air.

Did they actually visit the Turaga na Qaranivalu?

That was confirmed by 3rd party witnesses in Prison.

Who was behind this visit?

God knows.

Answers have to be provided.

Landowners must accept the changes[in laws.]
They should be mindful of the fact that the NLTB's first priority is to safeguard the native owners by ensuring they have enough land for their use, maintenance and support. The surplus is then available for national development.

This first priority claimed by N.L.T.B, as well the political editor has failed beyond the perimeters of a joke.

Mr Bakani in a release issued at the weekend said the board had adopted a more commercial approach to the utilisation of native land.

This commercial approach adopted by the N.L.T.B cannot be undertaken at the expense, without consent or without compensation of the landowning units in Fiji. The track record of Native Lands Trust Board speaks for themselves.

[Bakani] said the landowners now expected the NLTB to be more than just a leasing agency.

The landowners continue to wonder why the cannot negotiate for themselves, without a proxy organization with fraudulent streaks.

In its search for new sources of income, the board is concentrating on tourism, which is expected to become the largest revenue earned for the landowners. New leases have been issued for major investments ad smaller projects.
The NLTB manager confirmed that, this year, tourism lease revenue is expected to be more than $10 million.
Land use studies in the Suva-Nausori, Lami and Lautoka-Nadi areas, had identified opportunities for further residential commercial, industrial and agro-based development. These are being actively pursued.
Through the partnership with the Government and the Housing Authority to provide land for low and middle-income tenants, the NLTB generates more income for landowners.

That point is unsubstantiated by 3rd party research

In another initiative to create better returns for the landowners, the board has established the Vanua Development Corporation (VDC). This will invest in ventures promising an attractive return, with an acceptable risk. These will utilise the NLTB's expertise in land and specific business skills of private sector partners.
The VDC's Pacific Connex joint venture aimed to promote participation by the landowners in the information, technology and communication sector.

The company's proposed mobile phone venture would give the landowners access to a growing business.

That false claim of cell phone business potential echoed unresponsibly by the Fiji Sun political editor requires an independent feasibility study to confirm that. In addition this disease of lobbying for Pacific-Connex has transfered to the Fiji Sun political editor, Messr Maika Bolatiki.

The NLTB is playing its role but there seems to be a breakdown in communication.
Some landowners want to carry out developments without the consent of the NLTB.

That sad reality is the reverse, which the political editor finds difficult in understand that, N.L.T.B has unscrupolously leased native land with forged consent forms of landowners for development.

[Landowners] must remember that the NLTB is for them and it is the guarantor of all lands.

The law specifies clearly that native lands cannot be sold; and any dealings or works to be done on or with respect to the land requires the approval of the majority of the members of the mataqali that are over 21 years of age.

Legally the final approval/decision rests with the NLTB.

The above premise is both legally unfactual, as well as logically unsound.

Although native lands cannot be sold, they can be officially leased with the consent of the mataqali landowners, through the NLTB.
Once leased they naturally come under the ‘western’ system of land tenure for the duration of the lease.

The advantages of the traditional tenure system for the taukei is that it has firstly, prevented outright land sales and land speculation, and thus has ensured that they have not become a landless people in their own country.
The hollow theat of landlessnes, which N.L.T.B keeps sheltering behind has outlived it's usefullness, especially when the native right to land is enshrined under the 1997 constitution.

Secondly it has helped the taukei to maintain their land-based customs and traditions, which are based fundamentally on the maintenance of family and kinship ties, and ultimately on the basic principles of sharing and caring - a principle that has prevented the Fijians as a whole from being swept away by the materialism of the modern age.

The only reason why the N.L.T.B does not want the rapid knowledge aquisition of landowners is that their abuse will continue to run rapid without control. The land-based customs which N.L.T.B wants to perpetuate is passive timidness as well the non questioning of decisions. It is especially desired for the landowner not to progress.

Club Em Designs

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Fiji Sun headlines of Monday Aug. 28th 2006.
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Clash of Ideals.

Kaliopate Tavola- Minister of Foreign Affairs at a Fiji Trade and Investment Board showcase. Mr Tavola's office is generally responsible for selecting probable and possible candidates for ambassador positions. This criteria is not an exact science and follows the general template of "Quid Pro Quo" or "Scratch my Back Reciprocity".

Fiji embassy in Malaysia among others have been labeled as a haven for individuals involved in the 2000 Fiji coup and among them are several nobles and notable names. The latest nominee, a native chief without any experience in commerce or qualifications whatsoever has been named as Fiji's Ambassador to Malaysia.

read more | digg story

Sitiveni Rabuka, the flamboyant leader of 1987 coup was named as Fiji's ambassador to Washington D.C in 2004 but that selection fell flat due to the numerous objections by former Fiji residents in the U.S.

This is the excerpt for the Fiji Live article.

New Fiji ambassador to US face delays
Wednesday September 01, 2004

Fiji's new ambassador to the United States may not take up his post until next year.

An official in the Prime Minister's Office says the Bush Administration is not likely to process the Fiji government's nomination until after the US presidential elections in November.

The official says all new appointments to head missions in Washington including Fiji's nominee Sitiveni Rabuka will not be finalized until after that.

Paula Navunisaravi the Charge de Affairs in Fiji's Washington Mission will act as head of mission in the meantime.
Foreign Minister Kaliopate Tavola earlier said the Government hoped to have the Washington position finalized before the end of the year.

Source: Fiji Broadcasting Corporation Limited

Friday, August 25, 2006

Fiji Sun.

Club Em Designs

Rat in the Kitchen.

The abuse of chiefly influence is among the wedge issues that will bring back the shades of the 2000 coup in Fiji.

Fiji Sun article reports that there is gross discontent among the populace of Naitasiri in the recent actions of Native Lands Trust Board. The news signals that the perpetuating rot in native Fijian institutions is affecting other areas in Fiji and will inevitably be a stumbling block to the forward momentum.

The Hotel development at Natadola is another demonstration of malice and dishonesty used by N.L.T.B to mis-appropriate native lands.

Unfortunately these reports will continue surface in the media until a major overhaul is undertaken by the whole system of Fijian Affairs. To simply, change colours and ignore these concerns will undermine the development and progress of Fiji as a nation.

Another landowner group is seeking a legal injunction to halt the construction of Natadola Holding's hotel complex in Fiji. Recently there have been a drastic increase in the numbers of frustrated native landowners who have publicly declared their dissatisfaction with Native Lands Trust Board's operations and the administration of native lands.

read more | digg story

Clan seeks land stop-work order

Saturday, August 26, 2006

A CLAN has applied for an injunction to stop the construction of a nursery on a piece of land that it claims was illegally leased by the Native Land Trust Board.

Members of the Tokatoka Nakabasi allege that NLTB and Natadola Holdings Limited failed to honour an agreement made with members last year.

The writ was filed in the High Court in Lautoka on Thursday by the clan led by Tui Nahoni, Ratu Apenisa Cokanauto Rorovanua Rakuro, Ratu Timoci Volavola, Ratu Tevita Korodrau and Ratu Viliame Uqeuqevanua Ralulu.

The statement of claim alleged that NLTB sought a piece of land owned by the Tokatoka Nakabasi of Naveisabasaba Village in Nadroga and allegedly promised to pay members a premium of $50,000. It is alleged that when it was found that Tui Nahoni owned the piece of land in question, NLTB sought to secure a lease for the 20 acre piece of land.

The land known as Vile, on which Natadola Holdings is building a nursery, was the only piece of land on which Tokatoka members used to plant crops and vegetables for their sustenance.

The plaintiffs allege that 11 of the 26 signatures on the purported document of consent were forged. [Plantiffs] claim that the consent was not sought from the members of the Tokatoka, especially the Tui Nahoni.

The writ was also filed on the grounds that under Section 9 of the Native Land Trust Act, native reserve land cannot be leased unless it was de-reserved.

Most interestingly is the level of cognitive dissonance among native Fijians that has crystalized to dramatic proportions and has sent shockwaves throughout the entire system of native institutions.

For too long the influence of Fijian chiefs have been hijacked by elements of danger with greedy intentions.
Our chief is not for sale

Leave jailed Qaranivalu alone, elder warns


Stop using our jailed chief for your own business interest, a chiefly elder warned yesterday. And he wants the Government to stop such people from visiting his chief in prison. A chiefly elder of the Qaranivalu, Maika Morovia, said the Government had enjoyed the support of Ratu Inoke Takiveikata while his people continued to suffer.

Mr Morovia said the actions taken by millionaire Ballu Khan and Native Land Trust Board general manager Kalivati Bakani were a breach of traditional protocol and principles and were signs of disrespect for the Fijian people and, in particular, the people of Naitasiri.

“Who are these people?” said Mr Morovia.“They are in no way related to my paramount chief. They don’t even have a traditional role or status to allow them to speak to him. They should respect Fijian protocol, especially the way people of Naitasiri respect their chief.

“Bakani, being a Fijian, should have some manners. Our chief is there serving his term in prison and I believe he has had enough of the sufferings and heart-aches that he has gone through along with his family.“Ballu Khan and Bakani again want to engage my chief’s support and no one knows they might crucify him again if he fails to live up to their agreements.

The chiefly family and Naitasiri are not in a position to foot any further legal bills.“Ballu Khan is a millionaire and is engaging chiefly Fijian support to raise his business undertakings to new heights.“If he wants a business licence from the Government than he should be made to follow the normal procedure that all businessmen go through.

It is now clear that certain people are accommodated in special ways because they are already millionaires.“Ratu Inoke is not the Minister of Finance or a bank manager. Khan is using my chief’s support for his personal gain. What Khan and Bakani have done is an insult.

“They will ruin money lending institutions, the NLTB and the traditional Fijian protocol system. Authorities concerned should step in and stop them.”Calls made to Ballu Khan were not answered last night.

Ratu Inoke’s former wife, Vilisi Takiveikata, told the Fiji Sun that millionaire Ballu Khan and Native Land Trust Board general manager Kalivati Bakani, representatives of Pacifc Connex, had used Ratu Inoke as a rubber stamp so they could obtain a licence from the Government to launch a mobile phone business.

“Ratu is in prison and yet these people are still using his influence on the Prime Minister to get what they want,” she said.“If they really care about Ratu they should be lobbying for his freedom. Instead they are using him to get their millions while Ratu and his family suffer in silence.”

Here is a selected Letter to Fiji Times Editor on the news of Ba Holdings.

Digicel and Ba

I WRITE to express my disappointment at the way Tevita Momoedonu of Vuda is trying to influence the Ba Provincial Council to get rid of Digicel.

Mr Momoedonu has the gall to say there will be bloodshed if Digicel continues to operate. For goodness sake, I thought we were in the 21st Century and that bloodshed or talk of it was a thing of the past.

I thought the vanua of Vuda was ahead in development, thinking and education.

Having their chief to be the President, one of their sons an ambassador and Cabinet minister, that Mr Momoedonu's disgraceful comments would not see the light of day.

The words are appaling, contemptible, despicable, vile and loathsome to be coming from the mouth of a so-called chief.

How could a former ambassador and minister utter foolish and poor statements as that? How can a person of his stature stoop so low and mislead chiefs to sign a letter to the President to get rid of Digicel?

As aperson from Ba I am dismayed at how the provincial council is being hijacked. I urge chiefs to think twice about supporting Mr Momoedonu.

I am urging chiefs in my vanua o Nadi not to be swayed by the likes of Mr Momoedonu.

Taniela Lesu

Club Em Designs

Thursday, August 24, 2006


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Unintended Consequences.

Ba Provincial Council Chairman Ovini Bokini (2nd from left) and Ba Holdings Ltd interim Chairman Tevita Momoedonu (3rd from Left) consulting their Lawyer (1st Left)outside the Lautoka Court.

Fiji P.M office warns civil service to remain impartial in dealings that involve the Government. Impartiality is a discipline seldom practiced in Fiji and most individuals view matters from their instilled bias. An utopian declaration of interests in Fiji would include the process of civil servants disclosing their tribal identities to an independent 3rd party and examining their socio-cultural relationships.

The very issue of socio-cultural and socio-economic relationships led to the extraordinary meeting called at Native Lands Trust Board. The meeting was held to examine the damages caused by the calamity of N.L.T.B's General Manager, who was openly lobbying for Pacific Connex's application to become a licensed cell phone service provider in Fiji.
Fiji T.V's 6 p.m bulletin of Thurs. Aug 24, filmed the attendance of the President at the meeting with the Ba Holdings Ltd Chairman calling in sick expectantly. It is reasonable to assume that apparent revulsion of the President's office for being dragged into the debate. The President hails from Vuda, which is traditionally part of Ba province that includes Nadi, Yasawa and Tavua areas. The cell phone license debacle and the hostile takeover has placed the President in a difficult position as well as straining many cultural ties.

Fiji T.V 1 reports that the office of Fiji President has replied to Ba Holdings correspondence with instructions. This is an excerpt of the article.

Don't involve President: Secretary
Fiji T.V 24 Aug 2006 17:54:48

One National News has confirmed a letter has been sent from Government House to Ba Provincial Holdings Limited not to involve the President in their business dealings.

This after revelation last night that executives of the company had managed to convince Ratu Josefa Iloilo to issue a directive for Digicelexeutivess to leave the country within 24 hours..

Former executive of the Ba Provincial Holdings Limited Apolosi Bose says the move by the current chairman to involve the President is nothing more than desperation.

In discussions held at government house, andrevealedd in this letter, the President had agreed that he issue a directive to remove Digicel executives from Fiji in 24 hours.

Bose says this attempt clearly has tarnished the reputation of the Vanua of Vuda and abuse of traditional relations.

The President's Official Secretary Rupeni Nacewa says it's important that he maintain a neutral position and won't comment.

One National News understands a letter from government house has been sent to Ba Holdings Limited making it clear not to associate the president in the affairs of the company.

Fiji Live article reports DIGICEL's response to the Fiji T.V 1 report, on the correspondence to the President's office by Ba Holdings C.E.O/Acting C.E.O Tevita Momoedonu.

Fiji Live and Fiji T.V publish articles on Ba Holdings Chairman's comments regarding DIGICEL's precense in Fiji. These are excerpts.

Ba Provincial Holdings warns on bloodshed
Fiji T.V 24 Aug 2006 17:55:09

A letter written by the chairman of the Ba Provincial Holdings Limited warns of bloodshed in the country if international mobile phone company Digicel is allowed to do business in Fiji.

One National News has obtained a second letter written by the Ba Holdings Chairman and CEO Ratu Tevita Momoedonu accusing the Information Minister Isireli Leweniqila of colluding with Digicel.

This is the second letter by the Ba Provincial Holdings Limited obtained by One National News.

In this the company CEO and the chairman Ratu Tevita Momoedonu attacks the Communications Minister Isireli Leweniqila.

The jest of the message in this letter dated August 16th is simple, that government stop it's dealings with mobile company Digicel.

Quote .In terms of the vanua, we have voiced our concerns to you in that Digicel is single handedly splitting the vanua of Ba. This will be devastating for the yasana and we will not be able to contain any subsequent bloodshed. unquote.

Quote. Digicel has implicated itself with their insensitivity to the vanua and traditional ties by continuing to push its agenda using the vanua. If there were good citizens of Fiji they would have had the sense to back down and withdraw but clearly their greed for business in Fiji has blinded them from good sense and good judgment. unquote.

Ratu Momoedonu than bluntly puts this demand to the Communications minister that their license should be revoked immediately and reminding the Information Minister that he has the power to cancel their license.

Ratu Momoedonu than says Ba Provincial Holdings Limited is a private company and that the minister had NO right to interfere in their business.

He writes
quote. Our view is that you have no right in interfering with commercial arrangements of companies outside your ministry's licensing process. It is even more un-acceptable that you are suggesting another indigenous company partner with Digicel after having being dumped by Ba Holdings for corruption and deception unquote.

Information Minister Isireli Leweniqila confirmed he received this letter from Ratu Tevita Momoedonu. He didn't say whether he replied to it.

Provincial firm warns of bloodshed
Fiji Live-Thursday August 24, 2006

Ba Provincial Holdings Limited chairman Ratu Tevita Momoedonu has warned the Government of bloodshed if mobile phone company Digicel is allowed to operate in Fiji.

According to a Fiji TV news report, Ratu Tevita had written a letter, dated August 16, 2006, to the Minister of Information, Isireli Leweniqila, to withdraw Digicel's license.

The letter said Digicel was dividing the vanua of Ba and warned of subsequent bloodshed.

Ratu Tevita also accused Leweniqila of colluding with Digicel and that the Minister should not interfere with the dealings of Ba Provincial Holdings Limited. Effort to get comments from Ratu Tevita or Leweniqila was unsuccessful.

Digicel said in a statement today that it was committed to staying in Fiji.

Chairman Denis O'Brien said comments made against the company in the past few days were outrageous, mischievous, and untrue and it damaged their world class reputation.

Last month, sixteen chiefs from the province of Ba had written to Fiji's Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase expressing opposition to a joint venture between Digicel and the Ba Provincial Holdings Limited.

The chiefs had urged the Government not to issue Digicel a license in Fiji because the management did not obtain approval from the company's board.

The chiefs, who have also addressed their concerns to the Ministry for Information and Communications, claim they are share holders of Ba Provincial Holdings Company.

They claim the joint venture between Digicel and the company is contrary to an earlier agreement between shareholders.

The agreement was to put to hold on all new ventures along with other issues like the review of the company's management team and review of company's board membership.

Denis O'Brien has extensive exeperience within the telecommunications industry. Much longer than Tevita Momoedonu's tenure as Fiji Prime Minister, post 2000 coup or his tenure as Chairman of Ba Holdings Ltd.

Digicel dismisses comments as untrue.
Fijilive-Friday August 25, 2006

Digicel has issued a statement in its defense, saying comments against the company and by the acting chief executive of Ba Provincial Holdings Limited are outrageous, mischievous, and untrue.

Digicel chairman Denis O'Brien said the contents of the two letters and what was said about the company damaged their world class reputation.

This is the first time Digicel has issued a public statement in Fiji after they were awarded a provisional Mobile Phone license two months ago.

The company's statement was in regards to a story broadcast on Fiji TV this week which revealed the Ba Provincial Holdings Limited tried to convince the President Ratu Josefa Iloilo to issue a 24 hour directive for Digicel executives to leave Fiji.

O'Brien said comments expressed by the Chairman and Ba Provincial Holdings are outrageous, mischievous, extremely defamatory and untrue allegations, they greatly damage Digicel's world class reputation and excellent track record.

Ba Provincial Holdings company acting CEO, Ratu Tevita Momoedonu alleged that Digicel was dividing the vanua of Ba.

However, O'Brien said Digicel had conducted itself with the highest integrity in Fiji, and had full confidence in the government of Fiji and continued to be fully committed to working with Government to introduce as early as possible the benefits of competition into the Fijian mobile telecommunications market.

He said their strong track record in delivering real value, unprecedented service and coverage as well as innovation to mobile customers in our Carribean markets that the people of Fiji would greatly benefit.

"Digicel has made its presentation to the Cabinet subcommittee on Investments where they were thanked by the Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase for their interest, and their intention to make a capital investment of approximately US 265 million dollars in Fiji for the next 15 years.

"Digicel has not allowed itself to become part of the current internal disagreements affecting Ba Provincial Holdings. Such issues are a matter for Ba Holdings and the Ba Council to settle amongst themselves they are not issues for Digicel to resolve," O' Brien said .

Digicel currently operates in 20 countries mostly in developing countries. They have a provisional license to operate a mobile phone service in Fiji.

Digicel also has a wider and higher profile outside the Pacific region and the founder, Denis O'Brien also has many entrepreneurial ventures.

The calls for the Commission of Inquiry into the 2000 coup is getting louder. Even the Police Commissioner is countering the P.M's reaction to his initial comments.

Club Em Designs

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Stand and Deliver. Part 2.

FijiSun headlines.

The call to establish a Commission of Inquiry into the events leading up to the 200 coup is gaining traction with the general public of Fiji. Police commissioner Hughes is obviously frustrated at the lack of urgency within all sectors of Public Service in wrapping up these investigations.

Messr Hughes is slowly understanding the climate of secrecy in Fiji, particularly so when influential members of society are intimately involved in illegal acts, really are indistinguishable from agents of shadowy individuals who have attempted to ban Vijay R. Singh's book called "Speaking Out".

Fiji Village article on theP.M's reaction to Commissioner Hughes' remarks. Laisenia Qarase' comments is indicative of the real purpose and motive of these controversial Bills.

Another dimension of the culture of laxity laced with corruption are the fiscal policies of the standing Fiji Government which has forced the nation to cut back on essential services.

Fiji T.V's 6 p.m bulletin of Wednesday May 23rd outlines the recent developments involving Ba Holdings Ltd. The acting C.E.O and Chairman of the board has gone to extreme measures to upset the local business dealings of DIGICEL. Although, the case is still pending before the High Court, the actions of the acting C.E.O Momoedonu is tantamount to legal interference and borders on contemptuous.

Ba Provincial Holdings Letter Head of Correspondence.
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Fiji T.V 1 reported that Tevita Momoedonu was angered in the moves by Yasawa landowners( technically part of the larger BA province) to seek their own destiny with DIGICEL.

Correspondence to the President.
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The former P.M, Momoedonu has knowingly and unethically used his cultural influence with the current Fiji President to seek and lobby his authority and banish (within 24 hours) the Caribbean telecommunications giant DIGICEL from Fiji.

Signature of Ba Holdings Chairman/C.E.O in his correspondence to Fiji President.
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Ba Provincial Council Chairman: Ovini Bokini and Ba Holdings Chairman and acting C.E.O Tevita Momoedonu at the Lautoka Court House.
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The deposed C.E.O for Ba Province Holdings Isimeli Bose is originally from the Yasawa group of islands in Fiji and has maintained their relationship with DIGICEL to create a new platform, without Ba Provincial Council.

Tevita Momoedonu is drumming up support to paint DIGICEL as a threat to the fabric of Fijian society and is driving a wedge within the ranks of the feudal system in Fiji called the vanua. Mis-information in Fiji at its worst. A by-product of this cross-contamination between provincialism and commerce.

It appears that the same segment within Fiji's feudal system have 'thrown the baby out with the bath water' when setting up the foundation for the grand scheme of things. These include the R.T.U Bill, the Qoliqoli Bill, Lands Tribunal Bill and the Media Broadcast Bill. One common thread between all those pieces of controversial legislation is that no wide consultations were done. It is common to hear the Prime Minister preaching those sentiments but, the real truth is in the level of frustration.

The matter of the new Media Broadcast Bill in Fiji, is already creating a lot of negative waves. The Fiji Sun is leading the charge already with two consecutive days of articles warning the public of the Bill's repercussions.

Fight for your right
Media watchdog calls for submissions on Bill


Members of the public, the media and government have been urged to make submissions on the Broadcast Licensing Bill. Members of the Fiji Media Council met yesterday to discuss the Bill. Fiji Television Limited, Fiji Broadcasting Corporation and Communications Fiji Limited have expressed concern on the provisions of the Bill, which allows government to interfere with content and programming.

Council chairman Daryl Tarte said he had made a written submission. The Bill was criticised by media organisations as an attempt by the Government to curtail the media’s watchdog role. “I will make an oral submission along with the other council members on Monday,” he said. The Bill has been referred to the parliamentary select committee on administration services. Chairman Simione Kaitani maintained that the committee is bi-partisan and would remain focused on transparency, accountability and fairness.

“It is not out to gag the media, we are calling on people that would like to contribute to let us know. Our work is based on principles to see that the Bill is fair and in the best interest of the public,” he said.
When asked why the Bill seeks to interfere with media content and other matters that could affect media independence, Mr Kaitani said he was not in a position to comment on the GovernmentÂ’s behalf.

“Government has its reasons as well, in fact we are also asking government to come forward and make submissions as well,” he said.
“We have a responsibility and we seek the cooperation of the public. For the next two weeks the committee will work on the bill clause by clause, we welcome submissions for changes but we want to ensure the Bill is independent and fair.” He maintained that the purpose of the Bill is not political. Minister for Information Isireli Leweniqila could not be reached for comment.

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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Fiji T.V online.

Images of Fiji T.V 1 Bulletin online.

Fiji T.V online.
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NLTB Building.
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Natural Liars & Thieves Brigade- Part 2.

N.L.T.B is in the spotlight again after another frustrated landowner voices their concern. Fiji Times Editorial unleashes a much belated tirade against the administrator of native lands. S.i.F.M has spearheaded these calls to reform the archaic trust foundation that has failed to uphold the fiduciary rights of the landowner.
Time to relook at native land
Wednesday, August 23, 2006

WHEN clans at Sorokoba blocked a railway line over an unsettled lease over the property, they were told in court that they did not own the land.

The judge told those clan members that the land actually belonged to the Native Land Trust Board and that the clans had no right to put up any sort of rail block.

That statement is one that has major ramifications around the country because the vast majority of land here is native land.

At the very least, it has ramifications over the terminology used and whether clan members should be called landowners at all if NLTB is the actual landowner under law.

Now we see another dispute arise over a primary school in Momi. The NLTB renewed the lease on the land without consulting the clans involved. The clans say they need the land in question for development purposes. They refuse to accept any renewal of lease over the area concerned.

Now the future of more than 50 students in the primary school on the land is in doubt.

NLTB says that the Government through the Ministry of Education has already paid the $10,000 demanded as premium, while the school's committee paid the balance of $1,500 as well as the other charges and rental.

These funds, NLTB says, have been distributed to the clans despite the clan members' protests that they did not want the lease renewed.

Now the clans believe that there is something seriously amiss with the NLTB itself.

It is ironic that the clan members say NLTB has acted as if it owned the land when it granted consent to the lease renewal without the clan members' approval.

For under the law, according to the judge in the Sorokoba case, NLTB does own the land. But surely that does not give NLTB officials the right to trample over the interests and concerns of people that the land is supposed to benefit.

There is something amiss within the NLTB if clans believe that the only way they can get attention is by taking over land. It is time for the Government to relook at the native land question and how native land is being managed in the country.

To do that, the Fijian Affairs Ministry and the Prime Minister's Office must open up the NLTB and find out exactly where it is going wrong when it comes to its relationship with clans.

Until that is done, we will continue to see clans resort to takeovers to be heard.

Fiji T.V 1 news bulletin of Tuesday night reported that Fijian Affairs Board Minister is summoning the General Manager for N.L.T.B for an urgent meeting. This meeting is related to the comments by the G.M, Kalivati Bakani in lobbying actively for a cellular license for the Pacific Connex co-venture.

Sadly it is the entire semi-feudal cultural system that has failed to keep up with the times in Fiji. The same system of waste, cronyism that has permeated into the Government public service and statuary bodies.

This cancer in Fijian society is deeply rooted and designed to keep the elite layer in power and the impoverished and uneducated landowner out of contention.The same sense of entitlement in the G.C.C(to build a $F30 million new complex) is the extension of this cancer.

A cancer that someone like the Police Commisioner is trying to eradicate in Fiji.

Fiji Village reports that, the Commissioner Hughes indicates his favor of having a Commission of Inquiry into the 2000 coup before even considering Reconciliation and Tolerance. A welcome intiative from S.i.F.M.

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Monday, August 21, 2006

Government side of Fiji Parliament.

The recent attempts to pursue two controversial Bills in Parliament so early in its sitting is questioned by the Leader of the Opposition, Mick Beddoes.
Upcoming Bills of similar ilk are the Media Broadcast Bill and the Land Tribunal Bill. Fiji Sun's article sheds light on the matter.

State bid to control broadcasts

Fiji Sun.

The broadcast media will come under state control under a Bill to be presented to Parliament. This will be done through a Broadcast Licensing Authority proposed in the Broadcast Licensing Bill now at public consultation stage. The declared objective of the Bill is to establish a fair, transparent system for licensing of broadcasters along with a system for ensuring that licensees operate in the public interest.

The authority consisting of a chairperson and five other members would be charged with the oversight of broadcasting in Fiji. The Minister for Information and Communications will have the power to appoint the members of the authority.

The minister may also remove any member ineligible for appointment to the authority, or who commits a serious breach of any function under this Act, engages in corrupt practices or is no longer able to effectively perform any function under the Act. Members are entitled to allowances determined by the minister. The authority is charged with the oversight of broadcasting in Fiji, consistent with Chapter 4 of the Constitution and with promoting the public interest in the broadcasting sector.

The functions of the authority are in accordance with government policy to be responsible for the issuing of licenses to provide broadcasting services to the public, to oversee the development of the Advertising Code and the Programme Code. The minister will be asked to formulate policies relating to broadcasting, including setting the number of broadcasting services that a broadcaster may operate, give general or specific policy directions in the public interest to the authority and - under the Bill - the authority will b obliged to comply with such directions.

Fiji Government's decline of the request by the E.U funders to include Europa in the naming rights of the new bridge, was labeled by the leader of the opposition as arrogant.

This arrogance may be extended to the respect for international conventions for basic human rights, which are still yet to be enacted in Fiji. In addition to these human rights standards would be the transparency of democracy by legislating Freedom of Information laws. Attaining these basic steps in Governance may in fact facilitate Fiji Government's attempt to seek U.S grants. Ignore them at your own peril.

Fiji Ministry of Foreign Affairs is seeking an extension of duty-free access to U.S markets currently enjoyed by Fiji Water and Bumble Bee's tuna. These concessions expire this year and Foreign Affairs Minister is quoted in saying "Fiji cannot afford to lose them". This is the extent to which the nation of Fiji as a nation is addicted to aid and foreign goodwill. Fiji is currently treading water in the financial soup, due to the influx of remittances from former Fiji residents.

Glancing at the other end of the spectrum of foreign revenue, F.T.I.B is claiming Billions are in store for the nation in terms of new business based on the applications numbers from foreign investors.

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Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The Big Picture.

Fiji P.M at Grand Pacific Hotel, known affectionately by Suva locals as the G.P.H.

Fiji Prime Minister launches the 'design concept' of new the Grand Pacific design. Qarase is unnervingly muted on the proposed Lands Tribunal, the Qoliqoli Bill or the "extremist" remarks made earlier in the week, by his Minister for Fijian Affairs Board, Naiqama Lalabalavu.

Fiji village reports that the Vice-President launched the controversial book. The learned V.P's recorded comments(WMA) raised the red-flag over the flawed grounds of condemnation by nationalists, over the launching of Vijay Singh's book titled: "Speaking Out". Apparently the "unvarnished view of things" really points out the source of this nationalistic deluge.

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Saturday, August 12, 2006

Fiji Land Tribunals- A Blessing or Curse?

Fiji's Attorney General announces the formation of a native land tribunal into the historic acquisitions and transactions that, fit the bill of unjust proportionality. Added to that, will be the creation of a Qoliqoli Commission for native fishing grounds.
Blogger Heed Heeb attempts to unravel the facts from his point of view on Fiji Land tribunal.

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Fiji Village's Yellow Bucket has also plucked up enough courage to comment on the issue as well. The proposed Qoliqoli Bill, as Yellow Bucket rightly points out has two important components to it.

The legislation demarcates recreational use from the commercial applications of coastal waters within native fishing grounds. That is, the public still have freedom of use for actitivities such as swimming and picnics.

If S.i.F.M projects the legal rational of the Qoliqoli Bill further then, personal surfing is also allowed. However surfing contests and tournaments, could arguably fit the commericial definitions of recreational activity.
It is hard to imagine how the famed Tavarua Cloud Break resort interlocks with this new legislation. Which begs the question, who administers the current agreement with the Tavarua landowner? If N.L.T.B administers Tavarua lease then, it explains why the organization intends to widen their empire.

Although, the Qoliqoli Commission is a wonderful concept from the views of the indigenous population; the Bill in totality must be transparent and devoid of any connection to established native institutions.
It would be a more informed aspect to give several models of the legal framework; such that the best may be chosen by the native resource owners. As it is, it really is mash-mash of laws cut and paste that well serves the intentions of Fiji Attorney General.

Communication and knowledge will ultimately remove any ambiguities from the perspective of hotel investors. More so, if it stems from an independent source.

What is deeply concerning to S.i.F.M are the reports of Native Lands Trust Board having jurisdiction over the commercial licencing framework. It ultimately creates a entity with carte-blanche access to all native resources while relegating to the real resource owners to a pitiful observer status.

S.i.F.M acknowledges the need for a regulating authority but resents the idea of giving N.L.T.B absolutue authority, access and control over native resources. All readers are aware of the dangers of that power remaining un-checked and un-throttled.

S.I.F.M is equally mindful of the political strings attached to such monumental laws, especially in regards to the nationalistic threads of appeal which, accompany the gesture to Fiji's indigenous populace.

Perhaps it is time for the creation of a Native Fijian Law Resources Centre by concerned taukei residing overseas and domestically, who wish to scrutinize the operations, management of these governmental induced entities. To ensure that Fijian have full access to the wide spectrum of legal resources.

Here is a case study(PDF format) documented by a similar organization in Canada named "Indian Law Resource Center".

Another case of native land claims in the U.S, New York state is documented in this PDF file.

Vintage Fiji Rugby 7s.

This video goes down memory lane when the legendary Waisale Serevi was a teenager in 1990. Serevi was instrumental in the Fiji team that won in the annual Hong Kong sevens tournament of that year.

Fiji's line up included the late Vesi Rauluni, ball hunter extrordinaire. Crack centre and Nadroga's finest Noa Nadruku. The try scorer of the famous "over-the head-between-the-legs" passage of play was veteran wing Tomasi Cama.

The iconic player of sevens rugby is the present coach of the Fiji squad to the I.R.B 7's grand-prix circuit. Serevi led the present team to win the 2005-2006 I.R.B 7 tour, which included the 4-yearly sevens rugby World Cup title held at Hong Kong. The grand-prix circuit culminated in London's Twickenham stadium, in which Serevi also played in.
Waisale Serevi is pictured front row(3rd from Left).

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Fiji Fantastic.

Stumbled on this video of Fiji rugby fans cheering.

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Friday, August 11, 2006

Chiefly Disputes in Fiji.

Malake island, off the coast of Rakiraki, Ra.

The dispute of the chiefly title: Tui Labasa has erupted in violence. Lately there have been an increase in chiefly disputes in Fiji, underlining the disconnect brought about by the cadence of greed, power and status.

Wikipedia outlines the hierachy of chiefly households in Fiji.

Native Lands Commission(N.L.C), the polyannic entity involved in naming chiefly successors, have also come under fire for their inaccuracy. It also appears that some of the recent rulings postured by N.L.C, created this volatile climate of distrust among villagers.

Another chiefly dispute for the Ra paramount chief(Tui Navitilevu) reveals the carnard in the N.L.C ruling which, pandered on hear-say of blood-lines. Whilst ignoring the details documented within the official registry of native Fijians known as the Vola-ni-Kawa-Bula.
Presently, the disputing party of the Ra chiefly position have taken the matter to High Court.

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Thursday, August 10, 2006

N.L.T.B and the Ba Holdings fiasco.

The hostile takeover of Ba Holdings board and assets underlined the infantile knowledge of corporate law by the interim chairman. The actions of the corporate take over, instigated C.E.O Isimeli Bose's counter assault of the province building and headquarters for Ba Holdings.

The deposed board of directors have filed a legal injuction against the hostile takeover of the Ba Holdings, by a separate faction. Here is an excerpt of Fiji Live article.

Sacked group file injunction in court
Thursday August 10, 2006

Sacked board members of Ba Provincial Council Holdings Ltd filed an injunction in the High Court in Lautoka yesterday challenging the provincial council meeting held in Vuda last week. A hearing is expected today.

Claiming a major conspiracy against them, a spokesperson of the sacked management, Apolosi Bose is questioning how a provincial council meeting could be changed to a shareholders' meeting.

"For this, you need to follow the company's act," said Bose. Bose believes that it was purely an orchestrated meeting, which was moved from Lautoka to Vuda, the powerbase of Ratu Tevita Momoedonu (the new board member in Ba Holdings).

"We want an immediate investigation on what has happened," he said.

Ba Holdings board members were sacked last week, with the new board of BHL suspending all business transactions negotiated by the company under the leadership of its former chief executive Isimeli Bose.

This included a partnership with international mobile phone service provider, Digicel, which was proposing to set up a mobile service in Fiji. This is now in doubt. Some of the new board members in Ba Holdings are also on the board of Native Land Trust Board which owns Vanua Development Corporation Ltd.

VDC owns 51 per cent of PacificConnex (PCX), which is also proposing to set up a mobile service in Fiji. The rest is owned by businessman, Ballu Khan. Bose claims that as soon as the new management moved in, an accountant from rival company - PCX started doing a review of Ba Holdings Ltd financials.

"How can a competitor be allowed to review the financials of the company particularly as agents of PCX were openly lobbying against Digicel. It is like ANZ bank looking at the financials of Westpac bank," said Bose.
"Even if they were genuinely concerned about the financials, why not appoint an independent team to do the review."

Interim chairman Tevita Momoedonu has reacted to the injunction saying "No one is above the board, No one is above the shareholders".

S.I.F.M would like remind the interim chairman that "No One is Above the Law". The law called the Companies Act(1983) that provides legistated ground rules of how a company can be run. Sadly, the interim chairman and his cohorts have an ingrained misunderstanding that those ground rules do not apply them.

Here is an excerpt of Fiji Sun article.

Stop the fooling

Members of the new board of directors for Ba Provincial Holdings Limited yesterday called on the deposed chief executive officer of the company, Isimeli Bose, to stop making a fool of himself by saying he is still the legal CEO. Interim CEO Ratu Tevita Momoedonu said Mr Bose's actions were unbecoming of a man who once was a state minister and was well educated.
The defiance he said shown was a mere act of desperation on his part to try and restore something that he thought was once his but never was. The company belongs to the people of the Ba Province and I would like to remind him that no one is above the board and no one is above the shareholders recommendations, said Ratu Tevita.

The argument raised by Mr Bose that the meeting held in Viseisei Village on June 31 this year was illegal because it was to have been a Provincial Council Meeting that turned into a shareholders meeting was constitutional.
Ratu Tevita said at that meeting a unanimous decision was made for the old board to be terminated and a new board be appointed to carry out an immediate review of all the transactions of the company. He said a review of he company's business transactions and its dealings was long overdue and that a thorough review was needed because the company had not achieved some of its objectives.

The Digicel business dealing that Mr Bose claims is the cause of his being removed from the office is not the only reason why he was removed along with his staff, said Ratu Tevita. He said Mr Bose breached policies that included the company should invest in real estate and those ventures that had proper track records and not speculate or try to pioneer new businesses.
He said the Digicel dealing was the least of the new board's worries because there were many other dealings that were questionable. With or without Digicel the dirt was already there and that is what we want to clear and get out of the way, said the former Ambassador to Japan. Ratu Tevita said Mr Bose had his own vested interest in the company and he was building an empire of his own.

Fijian Affairs Board Minister and convicted coupster's speech for the proposed Qoliqoli(Native Fishing grounds) Bill in which the Minister castigated local hoteliers, receives a hostile reaction from the Hotel Association as well as from concerned Members of Parliament for the speech's distaste, which sounded arrogant, billigerent and callous.

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Wednesday, August 09, 2006

(N.L.T.B)Natural Liars and Thieves Brigade.

Selected Letter to Fiji Times Editor.

Role of NLTB

THE unfortunate incident last week involving the commercial arm of the Ba Provincial Council has brought to light some serious questions to be addressed.

My focus is not on Ba Holdings Limited and its dealings with Digicel. It is on the NLTB and Pacific Connex.

As a layman, I would assume that the Native Land Trust Act governs how the NLTB carries out its function as a custodian of Fijian land and adviser to landowners.

What is Pacific Connex?

Is it the commercial arm of the NLTB? How was it formed? Does the NLT Act makes provision for such ventures or non-core activities, as one might say?

If the local millionaire is a shareholder, where did the NLTB get its funds from to be the other shareholder? Was it a government grant? Was it interest from landowners' money pending collection because of title dispute or non-registration in the Vola ni Kawa Bula?

Did the NLTB raise its funds from the capital markets to pay part of its shares?

As a layman and an indigenous Fijian I am concerned at what the NLTB is turning out to be. Is it a saviour for Fijians or a monster working through the influence of others to get a bigger piece of the pie?

My fellow Fijians from the province of Ba have a huge amount of resources. My advice to them is to be very careful about how to use them.

It's always wise to use the Monasavu case as a learning point and their legal representative is not bad at all.

Aca Domolailai

Below: Students on tour enjoying Fiji hospitality.

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Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Crime free_cartoon
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Bouma water falls, Taveuni.
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Big Fish Eat Little Fish.

Vakaivosavosa has another view of N.L.T.B and their incursion into the cellular network industry.
Apparently the Fijian segment of the blogosphere are slowly jumping on to that story lead. Here is an excerpt from Fiji T.V revealing the names of the ursurping board of Ba Holdings Ltd.

New board for Ba Provincial Holdings Ltd
1 Aug 2006 17:57:15
More details today on what transpired at the special meeting of Ba Provincial Holdings Limited yesterday.

A new board has been appointed - they will review the operations of the company and report to the council in three months time.


These individuals named have little to no experience in running any business let alone a company with stakes in media operations. The new chairman was recently appointed to the board of N.L.T.B and another individual on the new board is also a member of the Great Council of Chiefs. The marriage of convenience between corporate affairs and tribal affairs is also a realization that the honey moon is over. Furthermore it highlights the dangers of cross-contamination of tribal commerce and national interests that may be have violated ethical considerations in Fiji.

Apparently there is some discrepancy in the manner in which the shareholders meeting was convened, violating the standing rules of the company.
Technically, the company secretary was supposed to inform the old board of a extraordinary meeting. Instead, a shareholder's meeting was held without the 30 day notification. It was at this meeting where the decision was made to remove the existing board and replace it with another entity. Although shareholders have a say in the company direction, they cannot legally defy existing grounds rules of the 1983 legislation also known as the Companies Act (Chapter 247). Here is an academic paper on financial reporting based on that Companies Act.
It will be interesting to see how this unfolds in court.

Sir Vijay Singh, a former barrister and Fiji Attorney General emeritus is launching a book titled "Speaking Out".
Nationalists want new book banned
8 Aug 2006 18:06:03

The Fiji Nationalist Party says it will lobby for government to stop the launch of a book written by former politician Sir Vijay R Singh. The book, SPEAKING OUT contains Sir Vijay's thoughts on Fiji in the decade 1995 to 2005.

Nationalist party president Saula Telawa says excerpts of the book are in-sensitive to Christians and the principles they believe in.

Even before it's hit the book-shops. Sir Vijay R Singh's new book has attracted attention for the wrong reason.

This is a glimpse of the book cover, courtesy of an invitation sent by the University of the South Pacific last week.

In an excerpt printed on the flip side of the invitation, Sir Vijay writes.

The marches claimed to express their extreme disapproval that the Prime Minister is an Indo-Fijian one may well ask how they reconcile their repugnant racist sentiment on the weekday with their purported devotion to the biblical precept of the brotherhood of man on Sunday.

The marches claimed to express their extreme disapproval that the Prime Minister is an Indo-Fijian one may well ask how they reconcile their repugnant racist sentiment on the weekday with their purported devotion to the biblical precept of the brotherhood of man on Sunday.

Today the nationalist party has taken exception to this.

Saula Telawa along with his fellow nationalists took the streets in 2000 to campaign against the Fiji Labor Leader and the than Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry,

(Translation: It can't happen.Thee bible says just leave them, separate yourselves from them)

Telawa says he will raise his concerns with the Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase and possibly the Methodist Church. He says Sir Vijay's thoughts are in-sensitive to Christian beliefs and the vanua.

Speaking Out is scheduled to be launched at USP next Wednesday.
It is rather disappointing to hear about these so-called nationalists trying to lobby policies that belong in the dark ages and disguising it as offensive to the vanua.

S.i.F.M queries whether the book is as offensive as Native Lands Trust Board's abuse of landowners, or the recent High Court judgment by Justice John O'Connor( in the FSC tramline case) that the native land does not belong to the indigenous population but the aspects of command and control rests solely with Native Lands Trust Board.

Here is the excerpt of the Fiji Times article.

Not your land, it's NLTB's, says court
Thursday, August 03, 2006

The court has given the Native Land Trust Board and the Fiji Sugar Corporation two days to resolve the dispute.
The High Court has told landowners they have no right to block a railway line because the land concerned is legally vested under the Native Land Trust Board.

High Court judge Justice John Connors gave the Fiji Sugar Corporation and the Native Land Trust Board two days to resolve the land dispute.

Justice Connors told the villagers they must not take the law into their own hands and warned that there might be serious repercussions if their actions were repeated.

Justice Connors told members of the Mataqali Masokanalagi that they had no proper rights under the NLTB Act to make demands for premiums and payment.

"There's nothing under the Act that gives them that right," he said. He told them the NLTB was the body that had powers to make such demands. The NLTB, FSC and landowners were defendants in a case filed by the Sugar Cane Growers Council.

The two landowners who appeared in court yesterday gave an assurance that the blockade had been removed. Samuela Naisau told the court that they respected its injunction and removed the blockade.

The members of the mataqali sealed off a railway track leading to Rarawai Mill three weeks ago, leaving thousands of farmers in parts of Ba and Tavua with no option but to transport their crop by lorries.

The dispute was over non-renewal of leases for land the railway runs through. Justice Connors told the lawyers of the three parties NLTB, FSC and the landowners that they must report to court on Friday.

He gave NLTB and FSC two days to discuss issues relating to Sorokoba, hoping to put pressure on them to resolve the matter.

He said in that way, a speedier resolution might have been arrived at.

The landowners were represented by Lautoka lawyer Mosese Naivalu. Corporation lawyer Faizal Hanif said the two parties had been meeting all of yesterday and were progressing well in their discussions.

But he said they were yet to reach common ground. Board lawyer Kemueli Qoro said the two parties were making every effort for the lease to be renewed.

Council chief executive Jagannath Sami said the council took legal action as a final bid to bring together all the parties involved in the dispute. Council lawyer Shalen Krishna said in court that he hoped the judge's call for an early review into the matter would solve the whole issue.

The board was represented by Kemueli Qoro and Mr Naivalu represented the landowners.

It is time to paint these nationalists for what they truly are: Fly-by-night political opportunists who try to label the author's work as insensitive whilst neglecting their own tardiness. The comments by these pseudo-Christian nationalists, demonstrate how matters in Fiji can easily be slanted, skewed to the benefit of the elite minority.
S.i.F.M has seven words for these scoundrels of the lowest order:

"We're not going to sit in silence!"

It would have been more constructive to have these nationalists explore the reason why Fijians have not ventured in the book publishing industry, or why there has never been any significant proposals in translating self-help books into the Fijian vernacular. Maybe an ignorant populace is exactly what these nationalist want in Fiji.

Roberts Rules of Order should be among the first books that need translation to elevate that knowledge among the common threads of Fiji.

These provocateurs talk a lot and have little to show for. More so in literature excellence and should be the last people in Fiji to be consulted.

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Monday, August 07, 2006

Fiji Times denies Gate keeping role.

Fiji Times Editor, Samisoni Kaikaivalu is under fire for filtering out letters to the editor that are critical of the Fiji media industry. This allegations stems from former journalists who submitted letters concerning the recent Fiji media awards, alluding to the fact that, print media journalists have been glossed over repeatedly for the award. The entry criteria for the awards is available on PDF.

Gatekeeping of media stories in Fiji have been documented. A similar circumstance was the military truth campaign prior to the 2006 elections. Including the feeble attempt by Fiji Times to paint the commander as a villain for speaking out against the Fiji Government.

A report by Morris W. Shanahan on the abilities of radio journalism during the 2000 coup and highlights the complexities of Fiji.

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Sunday, August 06, 2006

Strange Bedfellows of Fiji.

The recent attempt by sacked C.E.O, Isimeli Bose to seize control of the affairs of the provincial company raise more questions than answers to the whole affair. Recent letters to the Fiji Times editor led to another dimension to the story of the issuance of licenses, to operate a cellular network in Fiji.

Ba provincial council's commercial arm was successful in creating a satellite television provider whose main rival was Fiji Television subsidiary Sky TV. Ba provincial also entered into partnership with Caribbean mobile carrier Digicel; who are also major sponsors of Fiji 7's brand.
Digicel's sponsorship of Fiji Rugby places the chairman Keni Dakuidreketi in a tight spot(especially in wake of the Australia A massacre of the Fiji XV), of declaring his interest. Fiji Island Business online magazine outlines in two articles, the extent of the dealings involving those eyeing the cellular network licenses.

Native Lands Trust Board(N.L.T.B) appointed Messr Dakuidreketi as a proxy entity lobbying proposals for N.L.T.B's commercial arm: Vanua development Corporation who established a third competitor to the cell phone market.
Dakuidreketi also represents certain hotel developers involved with Natadola project, further staining his integrity as a honest broker. A symposium for Land Tenure conflicts held at University of the South Pacific between 10-12th April 2002, published a list of attendees. Among them were high profile N.L.T.B officials and Dakuidreketi. That particular knowledge gaining exercise, undeniably will face the acid test with outraged native land owners who will not shy away from legal avenues.

Legal Challenge to Natadola Hotel Development
Fiji T.V 7 Aug 2006 16:51:24
The multi-million dollar resort development at Natadola has hit a snag with a court order stopping development on part of the property.

Mataqali Waikelia is alledging the Native Land Trust Board and a developer, Hotel Property Pacific Limited colluded to acquire a lease on a piece of land where a golf course designed by Vijay Singh is being built.

Court documents were obtained by Fiji One News today. They were filed in the Lautoka High Court on June 16th by lawyers representing Mataqali Waikelia.

This mataqali claims to own approximately 69 and half acres of land at Natadola where the resort development is taking place.

According to an affidavit filed by mataqali member Bati Qaniuci, members of the mataqali Waikelia currently reside on land which has been cleared by machinery by employees of Natadola Land Holdings Limited.

The mataqali claims the issuance of lease by NLTB is in blatant disregard to the rights and previledge of the mataqali, its members and the provisions of the Native Land Trust act.

With development work already underway, the mataqali claim in the affidivit they had a meeting with Keni Dakuidreketi of Hotel Property Pacific Limited on May 14th.

Bati Qaniuci gave sworn evidence that Dakuidreketi, also a board member of the NLTB asked the mataqali members to raise their queries with the NLTB.

The mataqali claims the NLTB and the 2nd defendents acted in collusion to deprive them and it's members the use and occupation of Waikelia and Naliku land.

Lautoka High court judge Justice Finnigan has issued a stop work order on the piece of land in dispute and also restrained the NLTB from processing or registering the lease on the disputed piece of land.

The matter is listed to be brought before the High Court on June 30th. And telephone messages left with the developers representatives weren't returned when this bulletin was prepared.

The co-venture between N.L.T.B and millionaire investor Ballu Khan. N.L.T.B also procurred SAP software using a Ballu Khan who charged a handsome sum. The case of State Vs Major Tenders Board, underlined the stakes involved. Other losing bidders for that lucrative software contract have also filed a law suit naming several locals as defendants, including Dakuidreketi.

Digicel's involvement in creating a Fiji entity is ruffling the feathers of those comfortable with the status quo of a monopolized cellular network industry. Vodaphone Fiji's monopoly status was effectively removed by the current Fiji Government, in a bid to open up competition in the market stagnant with inefficiencies.
An academic paper(PDF) by U.S.P lecturers: Spike Bodell and Krishn Shah provides an intellectual foundation on Fiji's most divisive issue: land.

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Friday, August 04, 2006

Bear and Forebear.

Isimeli Bose, the deposed C.E.O of Ba Provincial Holdings directing the assault on the building owned by the province. This action was in retaliation to his forcible removal from the position, in a hostile takeover by a separate faction from the same province.
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A Stich in Time.

It is now abundantly clear that, the landonwners and supporters are now being appraised with the real land deals in Fiji. Including other shifty arrangements made in the smoky back rooms that only benefit the cronies involved with Native Lands Trust Board. S.i.F.M commented on that dichotomy in a posting titled :"Conflict of Interests".

S.i.F.M does not condone the actions perpetuted by the antagonists, including Isimeli Bose's assault on the Ba provincial council building named: Rogorogoivuda. Fiji village reports that Isimeli Bose was subsequently charged in court.
This is the excerpt of the article.

Sacked CEO to Appear in Special Court Sitting
By fijivillage
Aug 5, 2006, 13:33

Police have arrested and charged the former chief executive of the Ba Provincial Holdings Limited and he will appear in a special court seating in Lautoka this hour.

Divisional Crime Officer Western SP Vijay Singh confirmed that Isimeli Bose was charged in the last hour and police are still questioning some of his accomplices.

Bose allegedly led a group of armed men storming the Rogo Rogo i Vuda House yesterday and assaulting the security guards.
Meanwhile, a plea today from one of the high chiefs of Ba to his people not to take the law into their own hands.

Ba Provincial Council Chairman Ratu Ovini Bokini said the people of Ba should bear in mind that the province and the shareholders have already made a decision.

Ratu Ovini maintains that the interim board has been appointed and is to be led by Ratu Tevita Momoedonu

Audio Comment

Chairman Ratu Tevita Momoedomu and members of the interim board are being interviewed by police at the Lautoka police station as investigations continue.

Ba Provincial Chairman's comments were neither helpful nor constructuve to the discussion, as his patronizing comments was perceived to be out of touch with the concerns of the grass roots people.

Furthermore the chairman, Ovini Bokini has a tendency to skew his comments more to the established position that protect a brand of archaic wealth distribution in Fiji. In addition, the condescending attitude illustrated by Ba provincial council's chairman, also underlines the panacea in the old arrangement; whose benefits hardly trickle down the the common person.

Here are selected letters to the Fiji Times Editor, which highlight the conundrum.

Land laws

LANDOWNERS are getting the signal of what to expect from the proposed land legislations from your article (FT 2/8) titled Not your land, but NLTB's'.

The proposed Native Land Trust Act takes away the right of bargaining and agreement between the landlord and tenants as enshrined in the Agricultural Landlord and Tenants Act.

The former only recognises the trustee which, in this case, is the Native Land Trust Board.

How can the judge say that it is not our land but NLTB's? I think I have grasped the cache.

Utiko Nabunobuno

Telecom service

SO the mystery unfolds. While we urbanites relentlessly pour out our frustration regarding telecommunication disservice, media reports highlight that politicking and manoeuvring at the highest level are rife in the market share of the mobile telecommunication sector.

And the billion-dollar question is who will represent our best interests as people of Fiji?

The NLTB seems to be in the thick of things, dabbling in business ventures that its original mission did not have scope for.

How is it that with money to spare for investment, the entity which is the guardian of the landowners' best interests continues to push one agenda while landowners continue to highlight in the news their land issues?

Do landowners want mobile telecommunication and its costs?

Landline penetration to rural areas is not 100 per cent so who is supposed to benefit from the service?

It is odd that Pacific Connex, an IT-specialist entity is a key stakeholder in this venture. We can only assume that any mobile telecommunications expertise required will be outsourced, thus more costs to us taxpayers at the end of the day.

Then we have the drama at the Ba Provincial Council which seems to point to some influence from Vanua Development Corporation NLTB's investment arm in Pacific Connex.

Is the cold weather causing the season of executive coups in the West in the span of two weeks?

It seems the NLTB is overstepping its boundary by lobbying policies that affect the State's obligation to the people.

With great humility we ask provincial councils to remain steadfast in their vision for what is best for people in urban, rural and international centres as our parallel links remain firm.

Blood must remain thicker than water.

Allow us to raise our disgust at the unfolding of the Animal Farm shenanigans being enacted that only perpetuates the "all animals are equal but some more equal than others" syndrome.

We say open mobile telecommunication to Digicel and VDCL.

Let the consumer's buying power dictate and remain loyal to the entity willing to do the hard slog and go the extra mile for us. Consumers are taxpayers and the fact is that real money remains concentrated in urban and international communities.

We hope good sense and judgment prevail.

Seini Lutu
Maryann Tagi
Ulamila Wragg
Cook Islands
Vasiti Ritova
Sisilia Lewaravu
Vani Twigg
Lanna Lomaloma
Papua New Guinea
Tago Fine'Aloto
Mereoni Bola
United States
Tulia Takala

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