PM: Return excess land

THE iTaukei Lands Trust Board was yesterday directed by Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama to return a portion of the land they had leased to a Chinese developer without the knowledge of the landowners.

Meli Tawake of Tokatoka Naibili in Vatukarasa, said landowners of Sovi Bay had agreed to lease 40 acres only.

They were surprised upon consulting with iTLTB that the amount of land leased was 78 acres.

The PM had requested information from iTLTB representatives present at the consultation held at Talenavuruvuru, Sigatoka yesterday.

A TLTB official addressed the floor, saying they had advised the lessee to stop work for further assessments.

Mr Bainimarama further queried why the leased amount was more than what was agreed.

Receiving no response from the trust, he directed the excess land be returned to the rightful landowners and that they look into the agreement again. More than 200 lessees and landowners attended the consultation yesterday.

Issues discussed revolved around lease agreement breaches, assistance for farmers and those seeking to renew leases.