It appears that Dakuidreketi was recently suspended from the board of Native Lands Trust Board (NLTB) for questionable dealings, as reported by Fiji Times article and confirmed by Fiji Live article.
Reactions to the story was captured on the Fiji Times web site and readers who commented on the particular story, were overwhelmingly scathing of Dakuidreketi's series of alleged actions, which was tainted with corporate malfeasance.
This is the excerpt:
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
INTERIM Fijian Affairs Minister Ratu Epeli Ganilau has suspended Native Lands Trust Board member Keni Dakuidreketi after the independant investigation team into Fijian institutions cited certain allegations against him.
In his letter dated June 25, Ratu Epeli wrote to Mr Dakuidreketi stating the allegations surfaced over his role and capacity as a member of the NLTB board, chairman and director of Viti Development Company Limited and director of Pacific Connex.
"In view of these rather unfortunate circumstances, it would not be prudent if you were to continue to sit on the board of NLTB," the letter stated.
"Therefore in the interest of the NLTB and as chairperson of the Fijian Affairs Board, I am suspending your FAB membership of the NLTB board pending the outcome of the investigations into these allegations."
Mr Dakuidreketi confirmed receiving the letter yesterday but described the wording as 'generic' as it talked about allegations. "They are citing certain allegations which I do not know therefore I cannot comment yet," he said.
"Anyway, I am meeting the minister tomorrow and hope to discuss the matter with him."
Mr Dakuidreketi said his position as chairman of VDCL was an appointment sanctioned by the NLTB board.
Both suspended general manager of the NLTB, Kalivati Bakani and IT manager Mojito Mua were handed their termination letters citing 'no cause' recently by Ratu Epeli last week.
Fiji Village article quoted Dakuidreketi saying, "He has nothing to hide". Dakuidreketi met with Interim Minister of Fijian Affairs Board, Epeli Ganilau regarding the suspension letter he received, labeling its contents as "generic".
Fiji Times article reports that Ganilau and Dakuidreketi had a "fruitful" meeting.
This is the excerpt:
We had a good talk: Ganilau
Thursday, June 28, 2007
INTERIM Fijian Affairs minister Ratu Epeli Ganilau said his meeting with suspended Native Lands Trust Board member Keni Dakuidreketi yesterday was fruitful.
[Ganilau]said they discussed issues stated in the suspension letter which was sent to Mr Dakuidreketi on Tuesday.
"It was a good meeting and I managed to explain the reasons of the letter and what was required from it," [Ganilau] said.
Mr Dakuidreketi agreed the meeting was "a good one" and they had discussed issues which were "well articulated". "There are certain allegations and I will have to look at answering these allegations but I am satisfied with the meeting," [Dakuidreketi] said.
On Tuesday, Ratu Epeli suspended Mr Dakuidreketi after the independent investigation team into Fijian institutions brought up allegations against him.
In his letter dated June 25, Ratu Epeli told Mr Dakuidreketi that the allegations surfaced over his role and capacity as a member of the NLTB board, chairman and director of Viti Development Company Limited and director of Pacific Connex. "In view of these rather unfortunate circumstances, it would not be prudent if you were to continue to sit on the board of NLTB," the letter stated.
"Therefore in the interest of the NLTB and as chairperson of the Fijian Affairs Board, I am suspending your FAB membership of the NLTB Board pending the outcome of the investigations into these allegations."
Mr Dakuidreketi described the wording as "generic", on Tuesday as it talked about allegations. "They are citing certain allegations which I do not know therefore I cannot comment on yet," he had said. Mr Dakuidreketi was also a central figure in the Natadola resort project in Nadroga.
Another Fiji Times article reports that, Interim FAB Minister has received the report from the NLTB investigative committee, which will be tabled in the next NLTB Board meeting. It is unclear if Dakuidreketi will be formally charged anytime soon, however S.i.F.M remains optimistic that the case will be heard in court.
Island Business article covers the initial investigations into APRIL and Natadola project, which began to unravel this web of dubious deals.
French born APRIL co-principal, Louis Gerard Saliot was confronted with his criminal past which he failed to declare on his application for an Foreign Investor License and subsequently APRIL's license was suspended, throwing the entire million dollar project into dire straits. It is interesting to note that, Fiji Trade & Investment Board (FTIB) which issued the Foreign Investor License had undertaken background investigations into Saliot, according to their website.
Unfortunately, this background check by FTIB, forgot to compare notes with Interpol and this error contributed to the present financial quagmire at Natadola. One would hope that the system of background checks has been rectified, but time will tell.
Natadola Development Limited
Posted: Wednesday 28 March, 2007
Natadola Development Limited was granted approval on 26 October 1995 to develop the proposed Natadola Hotel and Tourism Development. The shareholders in the venture were the AD Group Asia/Pacific and Gerard Saliot.
The application went through the investment approval regime which existed at that time where the investment application form did not require an investor to make a declaration whether he had a criminal record or had been declared bankrupt. However, as a safeguard, the Bureau required investors at that time to submit a bank reference.
Mr. Saliot submitted a bank reference, which prompted the Bureau to undertake a due diligence with Dunn and Brad Street. The exercise did not produce any adverse findings on Mr. Saliot’s business conduct and his bank advised that he had maintained a proper current saving account with the Hong Kong Bank.
Based on this finding, the Bureau submitted the proposal for approval, which received Ministerial endorsement in 1999.
On 10th August, 2004 APRIL Fiji’s accountant’s applied for a change in the group’s structure, which saw the formation of Natadola Land Holdings Limited (NLKH). In this new venture, Fiji National Provident Fund owned 51% of the shares and Natadola Marine Resort Limited the remaining 49%. It was on this same application, where one of the director’s declared that none of the shareholders were undischarged bankrupt.
Based on the information provided in the application form, on 23 August 2004 APRIL Fiji was issued with a foreign investment registration certificate to undertake consultancy services for the development and management of Natadola Integrated Resort Development by Natadola Holdings Limited.
On 6th October, 2005 Natadola Marine Resort Limited’s accountants advised FTIB of a change in company name and shareholding. The new name of the company is Hotel Property Pacific Limited. Under the new shareholding structure, Euro Asia Management Limited owns 95% of the shares and Euro Pacific Trade and Invest Propriety Limited own the remaining 5%.
The Bureau strongly views that any lending agency that lends out funds to an investor or companies should carry out their due diligence on the investors and FNPF is no exception. On the same note other government agencies should have carried out their own due diligence before granting approvals/licences etc. Investor screening is a responsibility of all agencies giving approvals.
Given the latest findings on Mr Saliot, the Bureau will now go through the process of reviewing the registrations granted to the NRML and APRIL. The relevant government agencies will be advised accordingly.
Senior Public Relations Officer
Factions of native landowners had threatened to withdraw their land, prompting the Interim Minister to appease their concerns with an official visit and even dangled out equities into the Tourism project, in exchange for the landowner's approval. Fiji Live article reported that, Interim FAB Minister urged the landowning faction of four tribes, out of the total seven; to think of their children's future.
Think of future generation: Ratu Epeli
Monday June 25, 2007
Fiji’s interim Fijian Affairs minister Ratu Epeli Ganilau says Natadola landowners should think of their future generation by making choices that will ensure the development of their land.
Speaking to landowners last week, Ratu Epeli said there is nothing better than investing for future generations.
His advice follows comments by spokesman for the Vanua O Nahoqo at Natadola, Ratu Osea Gavidi, that landowners will be taking their land back from the developers of Natadola Bay Resort and re-investing it for other use.
Ratu Osea said the allegiance of landowners no longer rests with the developers of the resort after they felt they had been mistreated. “There are certain issues that need to be resolved by the landowners and the developers but right now we are thinking of canceling the land lease which was issued to them.”
“By doing this we are able to do something on our land and we are thinking of leasing it to someone else,” Ratu Osea said.
Ratu Epeli however said landowners need to be consulted on such matters.
The final decision from this native faction with regards to the future of Natadola project, is pending. This faction is represented by Osea Gavidi, a colorful character from the same province of Nadroga. According to a Fiji Live article, it is same Gavidi who had attempted to set up an indigenous owned commercial bank with a $6 Billion donation from a fictional organization named: Office of International Treasury Control (OITC).
Former Senator, Dr Atu-Emberson Bain's speech regarding the 2002 Bill to amend the Native Land Act and Native Land Trust Act, is perhaps an impartial look at NLTB's role and underscores the smoke and mirrors behind this amendment in legislation, spearheaded by the SDL Government.
Club Em Designs
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
My Brilliant Career. (Update)
Following up on the S.i.F.M post titled "7 Seven Sins of NLTB" - apparently there has been some developments regarding the sins from the Teflon coated executive of APRIL, Keni Dakuidreketi.
This case raises serious questions into the integrity of the entire criminal justice system in Fiji pre-2006 coup. Among them, Why didn't Natadola raise red flags in the Criminal Investigation Department (CID)of the Fiji Police? Surely, someone had an idea of the alleged impropriety and illegalities in the dealings of Dakuidreketi.