LEVERS Solomons Ltd and Russell Islands Plantation Estate Ltd on Tuesday announced a $2 million dividend to the Lavukal land owners.
The surprising announcement was made by chairman Patrick Wong in a press conference in Honiara on Tuesday.
Mr Wong said the dividend was declared during the company’s board meeting held on September 18 last year.
However, he said the dividend cannot be released due to a court case Lavukal initiated against the company and others in 2017.
“Until Lavukal resolves between themselves what they want, either they want MOU or take their shares back, the $2million will remain in the hands of llawyers,” he said.
Currently the dividend is held in Trust for Lavukal under Bichall Legal Account.
Mr Wong also brushed aside claims that there is no dividend.
“The company hears that some Lavukal people say there is no such dividend.
“But we are here before the media to let everyone know that there’s a dividend.
“The media is welcomed to search the court files and see for themselves. Even anyone from Lavukal can search the file as this case is in the name of Lavukal,” he said.
Meanwhile, Lavukal House of Chiefs representatives said while they support the chairman, they appeal to Mr Wong and other RIPEL directors to leave the matter to them.
They said the case is an internal issue that they can resolve through tradition methods.
They also want to make it clear to their people that they support Mr Wong not because they want money but to serve the interest of their people with regards to landownership.
Present during yesterday’s announcement were chairman of Lavukal House of Chiefs Oliver Salopuke, directors Maurice Mae and John Kapentana and chief representatives Pattison Burumoran, John Ngaobua, Frank Bollen and Benjamin Nauvali.
By CHARLES KADAMANA