Sunday, June 01, 2008

Land owners to close water

Land owners to close water
Saturday, May 31, 2008

A GROUP of landowners who had $5000 of their lease money deducted two weeks ago will close off the land where the main water catchment area for Labasa town is located.

Members of the mataqali Luvutu of Nasealevu Village said the decision was made after the Native Land Trust Board refused to refund their money.

Spokesman Solomone Tubou said they would close off the area next week.

The action will cause disruption to water supply to residents of Labasa.

Last week, NLTB north manager Joreti Dakuwaqa said they could not refund any money because they had to recover the overpayment of lease made to the landowners last year.

The landowners had given an ultimatum of 21 days for NLTB to refund the lease money or they would block the Nasealevu water catchment.

Mr Tubou said mataqali members did not receive a single cent from lease payment two weeks ago.

He said the NLTB deducted $5000 to recover an overpayment of $10,000 made to the clan last year.

Mr Tubou said it was not their fault and the NLTB should not have deducted the full amount and should have consulted them first.

"There are four mataqali in one yavusa in our village and one is extinct so last year, we received, for the first time payment allocated for the extinct mataqali.

"The four mataqali are Luvutu,Vatuwa, Nasealevu and Navuilagi which is extinct.

"The other three mataqali were allowed to receive the extinct mataqali lease payment of $46,000 a year which we received for the first time last year."

Mr Tubou said the three mataqali were to receive $16,000 each but when payment was made, mataqali Luvutu and Vatuwa received $26,000 while Nasealevu received $16,000.

"So two mataqali were overpaid by $10,000 in November and when our lease money arrived two weeks ago, the NLTB deducted the total sum of $5000 which is not fair as it was not our fault in the first place," Mr Tubou said.

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