Court rules fraud in lease

National, Normal

The National, Tuesday August 6th, 2013


A JUDGE has ruled that there was “a case of fraud” when a former government minister wrongfully leased out land under the Special Agricultural and Business Lease.

Justice David Cannings ruled that former Minister for Lands and Physical Planning Lukas Dekena had wrongfully granted a 99-year lease over a 8.51 hectares block of land at Taurama Valley, in the National Capital District, to Ava Mika, Kila Gabutu and Michael John Madi on June 25, 2010. 

“It follows that the granting and registration of the SABL are ineffective at law and should not be allowed to stand,” Cannings said. 

The land is next to the Vadavada settlement on the northern side of Taurama Road and traditionally known as Manuaga. 

Doriga Mahuru, Maiva Mahuru, Mahuru Doriga, Max Doriga and Kuruku Nao took the matter to court when Dekena granted the lease asking for a judicial review of his decision.

They claimed that they were the customary owners of Manuaga and that they were not consulted and did not agree to the transactions that culminated in the lease being granted.

The court agreed that they were among other genuine customary owners of the land who were not consulted and did not agree to the transactions resulting in the granting of the lease. 

Cannings, in his 29-page decision, upheld four of the five grounds of review. 

He ordered that the ministerial decision to grant the SABL be declared null and void or quashed. 

He also ruled that the decision by the deputy register of titles to issue the title be declared null and void.

Cannings ordered that a copy of the SABL be returned within 14 days to the Lands Secretary.