THE People's Community Network assistant director Savu Tawake has refuted claims by the Jittu Land Trust that most of its members who fundraised to pay for a piece of land on which the Lagilagi housing project is located were not given first priority for housing.
Mr Tawake said the 32 families being housed in the Lagilagi Housing Project were those who met the criteria set out by PCN for tenants of the project.
He said a PCN savings account was set up for Jittu residents where they could save money to pay for a unit in the project, but some "non-believers" pulled out and did not want to save money as they did not have confidence that the project would be successful.
"This is a pilot project for the people living in Jittu Estate, majority of the people who used to live on the site are now residents of the new Lagilagi Housing Estate," Mr Tawake said.
"Some who met the criteria from within Jittu Estate are also residents now.
"For those who claimed to have paid some money in the past — they need to go back to the people to whom they paid the money. It has nothing to do with PCN as they did not pay us."
PCN consultant Kevin Barr said PCN had a valid lease on the land which was at the centre of controversy between the Jittu Land Trust and PCN.
Mr Tawake said PCN was given the development lease contract and hoped to provide housing units for more than 10,000 families and to eradicate informal settlements in Suva in the next five years.
However, these comments did not go down well with the Jittu Land Trust which still claims they are the rightful owners of the land.
Jittu Land Trust chairman Vilikesa Koroi said Jittu residents had fundraised for more than $100,000 where they had handed the money collected to the Methodist Church in 1996.
He said after five years the Methodist Church transferred the land title to government which then hired the PCN to carry out developments on the land.
Mr Koroi claimed that families who had fundraised to pay for the land then were not given priority by PCN.