THE illegal subdividing of agriculture land leases is prevalent in pre-urban areas in the Western Division.
Ministry of Lands and Mineral Resources acting permanent secretary Malakai Nalawa said the ministry had started to regularise and give leases to those who had been illegally staying on the land.
In presenting the ministry’s submissions to the Standing Committee on Mineral and Natural Resources yesterday, Mr Nalawa said the lease was then terminated and those occupying the land were given individual leases for which they would pay the rental straight to Government.
“There is no legal provision applicable to us to charge the lessee for the breach. Thus we only terminate the lease and then the land would be reduced considerably so the lessee would only be allocated the site on which he will build his house and the rest will be subdivided,” he said.
“We are closely monitoring our agriculture leases in order to make sure the lessee does not speculate on the agriculture leases.”
Mr Nalawa said this was the only form of penalty which the ministry had in place for those who illegally subdivided agriculture leases.
He also revealed that the ministry was also aware of cases where one lessee held more than one or two land leases.
He said the ministry was working on eliminating this practice thus it would take time as contextual agreements had been put in place which would have legal implications if the ministry terminated one of the land leases.
“We are now working on a new policy in order to ensure that we do not give two residential leases at one time.”
This article was originally published by The Fiji Times on November 22, 2016.