Land issue saga

THE landowning unit of Vanuavou in Vaturova, Cakaudrove has questioned the interest of the iTaukei Land Trust Board (TLTB) as custodians of the landowners’ interests.

In a statement, Vanuavou trustee Vilise Semesa claimed the move by the board to transfer a lease to a tenant even though he had bad records was clear indication that landowners did not have any right over their landowning unit outside their reserve.

Mr Semesa claimed TLTB seemed to be in a position to dictate who accessed their mataqali land, ignoring problems that the landowning unit may face later when bad tenants were granted leases.

“The mataqali concern was to eliminate any unethical practice by any tenant to avoid the bad reputation of the mataqali and also to send out warnings to any future perpetrators,” Mr Semesa claimed.

“It is also sad to see that the consultation was done with the mataqali after TLTB completed the transfer, making the meeting pointless as they already had their minds made up,” he claimed.

“It’s a pity to see the mataqali and its landowning unit custodian end up in court when things could be settled within proper consultation or dialogue.”

Responding to questions from this newspaper, a statement from the board said the lessee had leased the iTaukei land through proper lease process meaning consultation was undertaken.

The statement said the subject land was outside reserve and therefore majority landowners consent wasn’t needed.