How much has Momi Bay disaster cost us?

Bainimarama has announced the restart of the Momi Bay resort development as if it’s some kind of achievement rather than just another example of lost opportunities. Like many other investments, Momi Bay was on hold waiting for the restoration of the rule of law. Investment in tourism was going strong before the coup in 2006 but grounded to a halt after the coup. In 2009 when the NZ developer went broke it was put up for auction but couldn’t find a buyer willing to pay what was needed. In the end the regime just passed a decree and took it over to pay for the debts owed to the FNPF. For 8 years the hundreds of millions of FNPF money tied up in Momi Bay has been earning nothing. Let’s hope it can all go ahead now but how much have all the FNPF contributors lost in the mean time? It would be good if an accountant could translate this into a dollar figure so we could know how much it cost.

Fiji Times November 12, 2014 PM to launch $150m resort works

10 Responses to “How much has Momi Bay disaster cost us?”

  1. Transparency Says:

    first they should clean up and prosecute people who have stolen money from fnpf and other lenders…bring back gary urwin and prosecute him with other fnpf, their accountants, and other professionals involved in the scam…then move on. otherwise, the same thieves will be re-engaged to steal some more fnpf money and tax payers cash…

  2. KS Says:

    Hey, aren’t there any Indo-Fijians living abroad – like all those boys from Auckland – who can make a deal with the minister to develop Momi Bay…..when I was at the auction, there was an Indo-Fijian who put in the highest highest bid – $48 million – just that the highest bid did not come up to the minimum required.
    Fnpf has money…..and would last a few more years before it goes under.

    Good luck.

  3. Tomasi Says:

    Friends, let us be glad that Momi Bay project has been resurrected. Much has been invested and the potential returns and benefits to all stakeholders and our nation is very real and quite significant. According to global mega trends and travel and tourism figures over the last twenty years, to urism will play a vital role in our economy as a major pillar for growth, technology transfer, jobs and as catalyst for other sectors to grow and prosper.

    However, all these assumes a mix of fundamentals that include a stable political environment, excellent Government policies and good governance, the respect for law and order and peaceful and harmonious relations in Fiji. While tourism is a resilient industry and is able to rebound after political instability in Fiji, we must work towards ensuring that our political situation is stable and that the monkeys that appear on the stage to mess up our lives are educated and controlled.

    Now that Momi has been resuscitated, we hope and pray that it will have a better future than its past. But the challenge is that we still have the culprits who messed it up running the show. Momi is only an illustration of the dillemma we have. How do we go about taking Fiji forward when the same criminals who devastated our society are now in legitimate control? How do we ensure that our institutions deliver the vital services they are designed for when our leaders continue to corrupt and sabotage those institutions and render them futile and ineffective? How do we inspire our succeeding generations when our so called leaders lack the commitment and the discipline to demonstrate excellence in integrity and visionary leadership?

    May God bless our Fiji in spite of our imperfections and prodigality. Vinaka.

  4. Bad Karma Says:

    sorry tom but momi can never be resurrected until the landowners are accorded the proper protocols…the mana of momi is hidden until this happens…but then this government does not recognise kaivitis rights so there is no hope…wy dont u write a piece on this tom since yu seem to have the inside knowledge on all topics…go ratu go. vinaka

  5. Tomasi Says:

    @Bad Karma. I agree with you that the landowners must be accorded the proper protocols, as with other stakeholders. My understanding is that these proper protocols were observed and satisfied before the Momi Project began. Rt Osea Gavidi, NLTB and the Lands Dept were was part of the process and they would be the best source to inform us.

    However, as you said, the current crop of leaders (Khaiyum and Bhaini) were never a part of that planning and construction process at Momi, but they interfered nevertheless. That is part of the problem here. They did not understand the project development and planning process at Momi Bay, yet they went ahead and made critical decisions that adversely affected the project. The sad truth is that they were never really interested in the project’s viability and success. They were just looking for opportunities to increase their personal stakes wherever they could. Traditional protocols are way out of their scanners. Vinaka.

  6. Transparency Says:

    sorry tom but your understanding is wrong. and, the problem with momi started well before baini…caused by corruption of qarase government…and I am no sodelpa supporter and definitely not baini supporter but this is one instance where the blame can be laid fair and square at the feet of qarase and his corrupt fnpf executives…

  7. Tomasi Says:

    You may be right Transparency. If you are referring to the land swap (Crown Land and Native Land), then the advice from our former PM and the NLTB is as follows:

    1. Both the landowners and the Lands Dept have agreed to the terms and conditions of the land swap.

    2. The land swap was a legal transfer of land between the two parties ( landowners and the Govt.)

    3. Although our Sanasana landowners had to relinguish ownership of some of their traditional land to the Crown, they were more than adequately compensated for by the transfer of Crown land to them and the short and long term benefits they would gain from having an integrated resort project in their backyard.

    4. Their land has appreciated in value because of the transaction. It was a necessary and legal exchange to enable the project to proceed.

    5. What we must appreciate here is that large scale projects of this nature worth multi million dollars are not easy to come by. Fiji has a reputaion of political instability, but we are glad that there are international investors who are willing to take the calculated risk with us. In terms of loan collaterals and security of tenure, investors prefer Crown freehold from native lease.

    @ Transparency, if you are referring to other matters such as the value of their land, benefits to the landowners, terms and conditions of lease, etc, then that is a different matter. Those are usually handled by the NLTB and their respective landowners and the potential investors or developers. But as for what the landowners should get from their land as project site, the international benchmark is that they should be paid 15 % of the Total Project Cost. This is an area that needs to be improved in Fiji. Landowners should get what they rightly deserve,

  8. Transparency Says:

    no tom im not talking about the land swap. That was done on wrong advice by the then AG, QB. The law then did not permit it to be done…despite what the current AG said…he just used it to change a law which needed not be changed because the old law did not allow it either…only the lawyers gave wrong advice to LQ.
    What I’m talking about is how Gary Urwin bribed and corrupted government ministers and executives of the fnpf and other public and private institutions to get easy money from the taxpayers of fiji to fund his business interests in fiji, nz and australia. do your research man instead of parroting whats in the media…the truth is yet to be revealed…the land swap is a red herring.

  9. Tomasi Says:

    Thanks Transparency. I thought Gary Urwin was the man behind the Savusavu. Bay project. The Momi Bay project was by Matapo Holdings. and the Fiji Gas executive was a principal. His project did not materialise, so if he was bribing people to raise project funds, I wonder how much did he acquire and where has he taken the money. So there;s another Fiji Leaks story right there.

    But if what you claim is true, then it is surely a matter of great concern. I mean the bribery you allege to have happened, resulting in our FNPF funds being invested at Momi. If it is true, then it might be logical to assume that it is only one instance of corruption and there may be more that needs to be investigated.

    On the land swap, it is common knowledge that the first precedent was set at Denarau. Momi Bay was based on that legal precedent, so Mr Qarase and his AG had legal precedent behind them. It was also conducted under full transparency by people and organisations who were willing and knowledgeable partners to the transaction. Vinaka.

  10. Tomasi Says:

    @ Transparency. Thank you for the reminder. You are absolutely right. I was mixed up on the names of these investors. Yes, Gary Urwin of Bridgecorp was involved at Momi and his story is similar to that of other famous characters. Very sad but a wake up call for us in Fiji.

    Maybe, the time has come for us in Fiji to be more proactive and responsible for our own lives and our future. The Government can only do so much. We must educate and equip ourselves in order to engage successfully with people of all shades of character like Gary Urwin, the Denarau Casino guy, Naisoso Island developer, and our own local brand of thieves and master deceivers like Aliz Pacific, Khaiyum and JVB.

    NLTB must have people in its ranks who can protect our landowners from fraudulent investors. There should several tiers of protection and security protocols to safeguard our interests and our national resources. Failing to do this effectively will render us vulnerable to international and local criminal attacks.

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