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Appointment of auditors to audit mySAP IT System
The Board of NLTB at its meeting today approved the selection of the accounting and auditing firm of KPMG to undertake the special audit for the mySAP IT system currently being utilized by NLTB to provide its information system.  KPMG has been advised of the Board’s approval and have started organizing their resources so that they can complete the audit within the timelines set for them by the Board.  Their interim report is scheduled to be considered by the Board’s Standing Committee on 30th March.  After that review, KPMG is to submit their final report to the Standing Committee for its later consideration by the full NLTB Board on 26th April, 2007. 

Whilst several Chartered Accounting firms were requested to submit tenders for their Expressions of Interests for the special audit, two of them actually submitted their Interests. Appropriate selection procedures were followed culminating in the appointment of KPMG to undertake the assignment.

Operational audit of NLTB
In view of the numerous allegations leveled at the NLTB and its officers, the Board has been informed through its Chairman, who is also the Minister for Fijian Affairs, that the Interim Government through its Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) will be tasked to carry out an operational audit of NLTB and determine if there have been breaches under the Native Lands Trust Act by officers of the Board.  The Board would also like to reaffirm its major Stakeholders, the Landowners that any breaches of the trust as stipulated under the Act will be dealt with in accordance with the Law.

NLTB issues appearing in the Press
Several reports have over the recent weeks been appearing in the press relating to alleged commitments of Trust Funds controlled by NLTB and also certain agreements committing the Board in guarantees relating to PCX cannot be commented on by the Board at this juncture in view of the special audit now being undertaken.   Suffice to say in the meantime that we do not want to pre-empt the outcome of these issues as KPMG would be covering them in their audit report to us in due course.

Viti Landowners & Resource Owners Association
Also, certain allegations were recently made in the press by the Interim President of the Association against NLTB and it would be premature for us to comment on them whilst the audit is underway. However to allay the fears of Fijian landowners, I would like to categorically state that Trust Funds have not, and will not be used to meet any payments in the event NLTB is at fault in the alleged cases highlighted. The Board’s operational funds from poundage legally deducted under the authority of the Native Land Trust Act for its operations would be used if NLTB is liable, and not landowners’ trust funds.

NLTB assurance to Landowners and Clientele
The Board would also like to reassure all its clients and the general public that the audits will not affect nor impede the day to day operations of NLTB.

It is envisaged that at the end of the exercise the NLTB will be in a better position to provide efficient service to its clientele and deliver on its primary function, acting in the best interest of the landowners who they are obligated under the Act to represent.


22nd February 2007

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