Fijileaks Editor: As far back as March 2012, Victor Lal had raised serious questions about One Hundred Sands Ltd but the then illegal regime, led by Bainimarama & Khaiyum, continued to roll out all sorts of concessions to Larry Claunch, including giving OHSL exclusive 15-year-licence to build Fiji's first casino; Fijileaks will reveal why the licence has been revoked and the regime's new local cronies who will takeover - we are back to square one, except with the new set of players to roll the dice
Casino (Operator) Decree
This confers an exclusive licence on One Hundred Sands Limited to operate a casino, and gives it a 15 –year tax holiday. The scheme confers functions on a ‘Fijian [sic] Gaming Commission and Control Board’ which does not exist at present.
Comment: The drafting is very defective, almost to the point of incomprehensibility, and the policy might be open to question, but no human rights issue appears to arise on the substance of the Decree. There is however an ouster clause at section14 which should be repealed. - The Yash Ghai Commission
Fiji's Attorney General and Minister for Justice Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum maintains that the casino gaming licence issued to One Hundred Sands Limited (OHSL) for the construction of what would have been the country's first casino has indeed been revoked. The licence was revoked last week.
In a letter dated February 9, 2015 which was faxed to OHSL chairman Larry Claunch and acquired by FijiLive, Sayed-Khaiyum said the decision to revoke the licence stemmed from their failure to comply with the conditions set out in the licence. This included delay in the construction of the casino despite numerous extensions by the Fijian Government, the developers' having not secured the land site for the casino and their failure to pay fines for the months of March 2014 till January 2015, totalling $US1.1million.
"Therefore it is clear that OHSL has failed to comply with the special conditions of the licence in particular, Clause19.1 and Clause 19.1(i) which is a breach of Section 5 of the Casino (Operator) Decree 2012," the letter said. "Given OHSL's breach and in exercise of my powers, under section 39(1) of the Decree, the 15 March 2012 Gaming Licence granted to OHSL is hereby revoked. "Please take notice that OHSL is to, with immediate effect, cease to hold itself as the holder of any Gaming Licence under the Decree. OHSL is also liable to pay the outstanding pecuniary payments."
OHSL was issued the licence on 15 March 2012 to complete and have ready by 1 October 2013 the Casino Project which comprised of a 100-hotel room, a 1500-state-of-the-art convention centre and a casino on Denarau Island.
On 3 June 2013, the Government upon a request for extension from OHSL agreed to the commencement of construction of the casino project by midnight 9 June 2013 and the completion within 15-20 months.
On 2 July 2013, the Government upon further request from OHSL consented to amending the licence by allowing for the casino and convention centre to be operational within 15 months from 13 June 2013, ensure the 100 to 278 hotel rooms be operational within 12 months of completion of the casino and convention centre and that the new site for the project be located just before the bridge to Denarau Islands. All other terms and conditions including the penalty provision of $US100,000 per month payable from 1 October 2013 remained unchanged.
On 2 October 2013, Government issued a notice to OHSL for the payment of penalty and OHSL to show cause as to why Govt should not cancel the licence.
On 8 October 2013 and 25 November 2013, OHSL paid in the penalties for the months of October and December respectively. OHSL also responded to Government's letter (dated 2 October 2013) outlining that construction was to begin in 2013 and that the casino and convention centre were to be completed within 15 months. The developers followed up with payments of the December 2013 and January 2014 penalties on 17 January 2014 and 21 January 2014 respectively.
On 31 December, OHSL again requested for an extension, this time for the construction to begin on 15 January 2014 at the latest and to be completed within 15 months. Govt agreed to the request.
On 20 March 2014, upon OHSL's request the Govt agreed to defer payment of the fines for the months of March and April 2014 to the beginning of May 2015.
On 25 March 2014, OHSL paid $US50,000 with the balance of $US50,000 paid on 1 April 2014 for the month of February 2014.
On 27 June 2014, Govt notified OHSL to settle outstanding penalty for the months of March onwards to be paid by 30 June 2014. It followed up with another notice on 16 December 2014 and to show cause as to why Govt should not cancel the licence.
On 27 January 2015, Govt issued yet another notice to OHSL for the outstanding penalty payment. In a teleconference on 5 February 2015 between Govt and OHSL, the latter was to provide a status update on the casino project including financing details, and to settle fines of $US1.1million for the months of March 2014 to January 2015, by 4pm Friday, 6 February 2015. However, the payment was not paid, prompting the revocation of the licence. Source: FijiLive Read more at: http://fijilive.com/news/2015/02/casino-licence-revoked-a-g-clarifies/60660.Fijilive
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