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Forgery probe on suspect lease

Repeka Nasiko
Friday, June 06, 2014

A MAJOR police investigation has begun into how the signature of a former president was used to lease a piece of land located outside of Viseisei Village in Vuda.

The matter came to light after a landowning unit from the chiefly village lodged a complaint saying they did not consent to the lease of the 20-acre piece of land to a prominent Lautoka businessman.

They only became aware of the leasing arrangement after they were notified by the iTaukei Land Trust Board.

Yesterday the tokatoka o Nakelo met officials from the TLTB and the Commissioner Western's office to discuss how the consent letter containing signatures of landowners — four of them deceased — were used to finalise the deal.

Paperwork for the alleged lease was finalised last year.

Divisional operations officer West Luke Moroivalu said further enquiries would be undertaken and dealt within the confines of the law.

The issue was first raised when Nakelo Limited — the trust that handled lease monies for the clan — received a receipt for $18,000 from TLTB detailing the alleged lease.

Trust secretary Epeli Tavai said while investigations continued, the landowning unit had agreed they would return the $18,000.

"We want our land back," he said.

"We agreed during the meeting that we will pay the $18,000 back to the company that gave that money and that the lease given to them cancelled.

"The meeting was a step forward and we hope that they handle the way they lease our land with more care and proper paperwork."

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