www.fijitimes.com - Monday, April 27, 2009
THE Native Lands Tribunal will give its ruling on who is the rightful chief in the three villages in the West -- Vitogo, Vitawa and Magodro -- on June 11.
Former magistrate and tribunal member Aminiasi Katonivualiku said the chiefly titles in the three villages -- the Tui Vitogo, Tui Magodro and Tu Navatu in Vitawa -- were being disputed.
Mr Katonivualiku said they collected evidence from both the parties to the titles under heavy guard from the Police Ready Action Unit team last week. "The villagers crowded up to where we convened the tribunal in the three villages," he said.
Mr Katonivualiku said the Tui Vitogo title, presently held by Ratu Viliame Sovasova, was being disputed by his elder sister, Adi Makereta Druma. The former magistrate said the Tui Magodro title held by Simione Vutevute as per decision by the Native Land Commission was being challenged by Tevita Bose Lewaravu. Mr Katonivualiku said the Tu Navatu title was disputed by Ratu Sainivalati Toroki and Ratu Akuila Kubou.
"The NLC went there and awarded the title to Ratu Akuila but after that the tribunal before us gave it Ratu Sainivalati." Mr Katonivualiku said that Ratu Akuila filed for a judicial review in the High Court and later appealed in the Fiji Court of Appeal.
"The Fiji Court of Appeal gave its ruling and ordered a new tribunal to hear the case again.
"That's where we came in."
Mr Katonivualiku, Ro Epeli Mataitini and Ratu Talemo Ratakele are the members of the tribunal.