FIJI TIMES ONLINE By ELENOA BASELALA Wednesday, August 12, 2009
THE Unit Trust of Fiji says it is business as usual and people still can buy shares. This comes as the Capital Markets Development Authority (CMDA) issued a directive for the company to be under formal controllership with G. Lal & Company as controllers. Unit Trust general manager Vilash Chand, who denied this two weeks ago, said yesterday "it's business as usual" but could not provide more details because he was rushing to a meeting. One of the major reasons for the company going under the scrutiny of CMDA was its "failed" investments which included the incomplete Momi Bay Development Project. Unit Trust invested $12million in the project through a loan to Muanairewa Resorts Limited, subsidiary of Bridgecorp Ltd which is the parent company of developer, Matapo Limited.
The investment was for the sale of residential lots which is stage two of the project. According to the Bridgecorp Report released in June to the Fiji Times by the New Zealand Ministry of Economic Development, questions on whether stage two would go ahead were raised in a board meeting.
At a Bridgecorp board meeting in 2007, it was noted that stage two would be a tough sell as stage one, where the construction of a golf course, club house and resorts had to be completed first.
An audit in 2004 showed that an advance of $202,500 was taken by Muanairewa Resorts for establishment fee and payment to Unit Trust and Banaban Trust Fund which also invested in the project.
owever, the audit noted that documents to support that advance was insufficient.
Bridgecorp, which collapsed and saw its directors being taken to court, had an outstanding loan of $1.5m but reportedly gave loans totaling $106m for the Momi Project.