Fijileaks: If SODELPA couldn't explain itself in Parliament (with Naiqama claiming land swap deal was confidential), please NO press release later. Two major electoral blunders from SODELPA in two consecutive days - first, lease money furore, and now land swap deal. That is what happens when a party resorts to making base appeal while ignoring vote winning issues like unemployment, retirement age, economy, corruption etc, etc!!
"Ratu Naiqama rose on a point of order, saying that the Cabinet decision on the conversion of the land was confidential. Sayed-Khaiyum raised the issue to highlight that some within SODELPA including Ratu Naiqama who are calling for a change in the  Constitution were actually involved in permanently alienating iTaukei land in Momi. He said the same was done in Denarau. He says the law was profoundly flawed at the time as it meant that the then government converted iTaukei land to freehold land and permanently alienated it from the landowning units. Sayed-Khaiyum says under the 2013 constitution, no iTaukei land can be permanently alienated. He says there was no constitutional provision in the 1970, 1990 and 1997 constitutions that iTaukei land can never be permanently alienated.";
Fijileaks: Momi villagers were give $25,000 as a goodwill gesture (and other benefits) to part with their land to Matapo Holdings Limited under Naiqama's watch after the land was broken up from Native to FREEHOLD land
"Land is the Fijian people. You break up the land, you break up the Fijian people" - The late Ratu Sir Penaia Ganilau
In 2011, when I founded Fijileaks (to counter the draconian media decree) and after the Fiji Sun had decided under its new management to drop me as the paper's political and opinion commentator (the most widely read section of the paper for several years with school teachers besieging Fiji Sun for back issues of my writings for their history lessons, and USP professors reading the columns while gouging on cheap lamb chops), among many revelations I published in Fijileaks was the SECRET "Fiji cabinet paper 4 july 2006 land exchange proposal momi bay". The matter has been raised in Parliament by Aiyaz Khaiyum with Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu wanting to scupper any reminder of it
Fijivillage News (14 September 2017)
SODELPA parliamentarian Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu failed in his attempt in parliament today to try to get Acting Prime Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum to stop talking about the SDL government converting the iTaukei land in Momi to freehold land during Ratu Naiqama’s term as Lands Minister.
Ratu Naiqama rose on a point of order, saying that the cabinet decision on the conversion of the land was confidential.
Sayed-Khaiyum raised the issue to highlight that some within SODELPA including Ratu Naiqama who are calling for a change in the constitution were actually involved in permanently alienating iTaukei land in Momi.
He said the same was done in Denarau. Speaker Doctor Jiko Luveni said that the parliamentarians enjoy freedom of speech and Sayed-Khaiyum has the right to speak on the issue.
He says the law was profoundly flawed at the time as it meant that the then government converted iTaukei land to freehold land and permanently alienated it from the landowning units. Sayed-Khaiyum says under the 2013 constitution, no iTaukei land can be permanently alienated.
He says there was no constitutional provision in the 1970, 1990 and 1997 constitutions that iTaukei land can never be permanently alienated.
Source: Fijivillage News, 14 September 2017
Fijileaks (2011) reproduces "Momi Land Swap" Cabinet Document below:
Fijileaks: Was financial kick-backs received over Momi land conversion?
From Fijileaks archive:
The Land Swap Agreement
In 2007, the landowners promised world came tumbling down when Bridgecorp, Matapo's original investor owners, went bust, forcing the interim Bainimarama government to step in. Finally, in 2017, the sun smiled on them with completion of the Momi Bay development project
WHEN Ratu Kini Vosailagi took on the role of turaga na Tui Nalolo in 2014, he vowed to always do what was best for his people.
For about a decade there were divisions among the people of Nalolo, much of this conflict arising from the issues emerging out of a failed development project that started in 2004.
It was a project the six villages in the tikina had banked their future on, one that held the promise of employment for a lot of its people.
The project was a resort development at Momi Bay, Nadi, where the country's superannuation body, the Fiji National Provident Fund, was a major partner.
Ratu Kini said it wasn't easy winning the trust of landowning units — the Yavusa of Nalolo of Tau Village and neighbouring villages of Lomawai and Bavu — when the FNPF returned to re-engage and hold discussions on the project that had been abandoned a decade ago.
"People were conflicted because they didn't know where to stand," he said.
"Some were all for the development while others were reluctant because promises made long ago were never fulfilled.
"And their faith that such a project would ever be completed had waned, it felt like a pipedream."
He said there were also recollections of past failures, largely dealing with a failed business set up by villagers when the project began in 2004.
The Vanua o Nalolo had started a company that operated as a subcontractor to the initial Momi Bay Development Project.
"The company was set up to generate income but this failed when the development failed.
"They had dump trucks and diggers (excavators) and they were working at the construction site."
Matapo was the locally registered company linked to original investors Bridgecorp and the Fiji National Provident Fund.
FNPF and the Fiji Development Bank (FDB) had provided $80 million through a syndicated loan to Matapo while Bridgecorp provided an investment of $NZ106m ($F154m).
All plans and investments fell over in July 2007 when the project ceased. A large number of local creditors and suppliers suffered substantial losses, including the company set up by the vanua.
"There were a lot of hardships when the project stopped.
"You could tell there weren't a lot of sound decisions made because the vanua company was in debt when the project was halted. They had a $600,000 debt."
He added that in inheriting the role of chief in January 27, 2014, he also inherited a problem.
Other than having to work with a divided people, he also had to deal with a 107 hectare foreshore waterfront site which was a mixture of native land lease and freehold titles.
Sitting on this piece of land was 350 residential units. The site was also home to an incomplete golf course, hotel and resort.
The villagers were helpless because there was nothing they could do about it.
Even when the FNPF approached the vanua for redevelopment talks in 2014, villagers were unfazed.
They had lost all hope in the project and never believed it would be resurrected and redeveloped.
"Shortly after I was conferred the role, FNPF brought a tabua requesting to resume the project.
"It wasn't easy getting people to agree on it because there were still mixed feelings about the original project."
On November 13, 2014, Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama officially launched the Momi Redevelopment Project.
He outlined in his speech that rehabilitation plans on the project began in 2010 with Government announcing a $150m investment into the redevelopment of Momi Bay.
Prior to this move by Government, the incomplete project was to have been auctioned off in 2009. But the highest bid for it was $41m, not enough to cover FNPF's investment of $80m.
The FNPF board then made a decision in 2014 to pursue completion of the resort project. In that same year they selected Fletcher Construction Ltd as the primary contractor.
Fast forward two years, to Saturday April 8, 2017, and the Fiji Marriot Resort Momi Bay was officially opened by Prime Miniser Voreqe Bainimarama.
Ratu Kini said the event signalled renewed hope for the people of Nalolo District. At the time the resort opened its doors to the public, 47 people from the district were already employed at the resort.
He said the resort held a lot of promise for his people.
"There was a lot of trust lost among our own people.
"The success of today and this completed resort should not just be something to celebrate but should also serve as a reminder to the people of what happens when you decide to make your own decisions with a blatant disregard for others.
"There were those who pushed their own agenda in the original development and refused to work with the then Government.
"That was the result, a halted project and a significant amount of debt.
"We have come a long way since then and I believe this end product will help boost the confidence of our people and continue to show a united front in development projects in and around the tikina."
He added they had already started to see benefits with the completion of village halls and the promise of continued employment.
FNPF board chairman Ajith Kodagoda in delivering his speech at the opening of the resort on April 8 reaffirmed that their dealings with the landowning units was a challenge.
"Taking physical possession of this property was also not an easy task as the landowner communities were also short-changed by the previous developer," he said.
"In fact we had to overcome resistance and roadblocks as we went through a painful and frustration process of winning the confidence of landowners.
"We now have a cordial relationship with the landowner communities."
FNPF built four village halls in the villages of Tau, Navutu, Bavu and Lomawai.
They successfully negotiated a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the tokatoka Nahau, the landowners of the Golf course.
They engaged Fiji National University to train 47 youths from the six villages at the cost of $100,000.
The fund also paid $1m in goodwill to the landowners to make good and complete the process of land swap.
Ratu Kini said the fund's initiatives to make good on promises made previously was a sign of good things to come.
"Our villages didn't have a village hall to begin with and when the plans fell through with the original project nothing was ever really done about it until now.
"I'm grateful for the assistance.
"We faced a tumultuous start but this is a promise of a better future not just for the people of Nalolo but for the whole of Fiji, particularly those who contribute to FNPF because they are the real owners of the Marriott."