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Court awards landowners $47k

Serafina Silaitoga
Monday, December 11, 2017

A PINE landowning unit in Bua has been awarded $47,375 by the Magistrate Court in Labasa.

Magistrate Jeremaia Savou ordered Raviravi Sawmilling & Timber Merchants Co Ltd to make this payment to the Nakakoso clan of Tiliva Village with an interest rate of five per cent and $500 as assessed costs.

Mr Savou awarded the landowners, based on the agreement of March 15, 2016, between the plaintiff and the defending company.

The clan members sought compensation on the 1895 felling trees at the rate of $25 per pine tree and not $15 per tree that the defendant depended on as per an earlier agreement of 2013.

However, the court did not recognise the 2013 agreement because at that time, the pine trees belonged to Fiji Pine Ltd.

Mr Savou ruled that the $25 per tree be paid to landowners based on the 2016 agreement after the Fiji Pine Ltd had then released the trees for harvesting by landowners.

"The court, therefore, in light of the above discussions adjudged that the plaintiff's claim has been proven, however, dismisses the counter claim of the defendant as it has not been proven," he said.

Suva lawyer and Bua native Amani Bale represented the Nakakoso clan while the defendants was represented by Sushil Sharma.

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