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Landowners cheated by Fiji Pine Trust; Acting PM

16:45 Wed May 16, 2018

Taken from/By: Supplied
Report by: Akosita Talei

The government has revealed the Fiji Pine Trust which looks after the welfare of landowners together with forest based companies and forest based trust mismanaged and abused money paid to them by the Fiji Pine Limited.

This was revealed by Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum while delivering a ministerial statement in parliament this afternoon.

Sayed-Khaiyum says the Fiji Pine Limited declared a $500,000 dividend in 2010 and revealed the Fiji Pine Trust that received money on behalf of the landowners used a significant amount from this during the distribution.

He says as a result the landowners received next to nothing.

FPL also pays 5.5% of all logging and cartage costs to what we call FBC and FBT’s – the money is paid out to be used for landowner business and communal developments in each of the six forests in Bua, Macuata, Ra ,Lololo , Nadi and Macuata. For eg: Bua forest based company and trust has received $2,.2m from FPL in the last 6 years but rather than growing that money for the benefit of the landowners in Bua, the monies have been used up and diminished in its overall aggregate amount.”

Sayed-Khaiyum says landowners who became aware of these failures raised their concerns with the Prime Minister a few years ago.

“To ensure the benefits of the pine industry went directly to the pine landowners who lease their land to the Fiji pine the lease security bonus payout was made.”

The Attorney General says under the bonus payout introduced in 2013 money goes directly to the Mataqali and the Land Owning Unit’s that lease their land to Fiji Pine.

He also reiterated the government despite being 99.8% shareholder doesn’t have any dividend rights.

He says only Fiji Pine Trust with zero point two percent shares in the company has full dividend rights.

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