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‘Shine A Light’- Ownership Battles And Transparency Concerns Persist

Cloud Investments is the company carrying out the proposed hotel development in Shirley Park. The company was solely owned by P Meghji Group of Companies. 

Shirley Park in Lautoka City.

Cloud Investments is the company carrying out the proposed hotel development in Shirley Park. The company was solely owned by P Meghji Group of Companies. 

However, prior to COVID-19, Fijian Holdings Limited and another company had bought shares in Cloud Investments. 

FHL Group chief executive officer Jaoji Koroi confirmed having shares in Cloud Investments. 

However, he said FHL hadn’t made any decision on the proposed hotel development. 

A spokesperson of the other shareholder said they did not have direct influence on the project, despite their shares in Cloud Investments.  

P Meghji , FHL and the other company hold a third of the shares each. It’s been 10 years since the memorandum of understanding was signed between the Lautoka City Council and P Meghji. 

It is noted in a Parliamentary Standing Committee report that the due process for rezoning Shirley Park was not transparent.  

P Meghji was to develop 4732 square metres (approximately 20 per cent) of the Shirley Park land area of 23,933 square metres.  

The rezoning and development of the park has been a subject of de­bate and controversy among rate­payers of Lautoka City and the Gov­ernment.  

The portion of land remains fenced off. P Meghji had revealed plans to construct a seven-Storey four-star hotel with 144 rooms and a confer­ence center estimated to cost more than $20 million.  

To date, Cloud Investments, through its solicitors Samuel K Ram lawyers of Ba, is negotiating the way forward for the project with the Lands Department and the Lautoka City Council.  

It is understood, Cloud Invest­ments made an advanced payment to the council as part of the condition of the lease agreement.  

The talks carried out by the three parties are based on the development lease agreement.  

Shine a Light was reliably informed that the project was in its development phase, when COVID-19 hit in 2020.  

Approvals such as the Environment Impact Assessment reports are still needed before any kind of work is carried out.  

Questions sent to the council’s chief executive officer, Mohammed Khan, and the permanent secretary for Lands, Raijeli Taga, remain unanswered.  

Cloud Investments solicitor Samuel Ram noted that the matter was confidential, and he was awaiting instructions from his clients.  


The Standing Committee on Natural Resources 2015 Report on the petition. not to rezone Shirley Park noted that due process was not transparent, and there were gaps and inconsistencies that needed verification.  

The committee highlighted this in relation to the information provided by P Meghji that the proposed area for rezoning and development was 6475 square metres.  

According to the committee, the de­veloper had added 1743 square me­tres of land into its proposed devel­opment plan, which was not part of the rezoning application submitted to the Director of Town and Coun­try Planning.  

The report noted that there was no evidence on how the developer had included this portion of land into its proposed development.  

The report quoted P Meghji Direc­tor, Romit Meghji, saying that the council would earn almost $500,000 a year from the lease.  

“Basically, if one looks at a 20-year plan, the land will be worth $20 mil­lion.”  

A memorandum of understanding was signed between P Meghji and the council on July 29, 2013.  

Earlier, the council had called for expressions of interest from entre­preneurs and other parties to de­velop the park on November 10, 2012.  

P Meghji Ltd presented its devel­opment proposal under the Build Own Operate and Transfer (BOOT) arrangement and under Long-Term Lease arrangement.  

The initial proposal was the con­struction of 101 rooms, four-star hotel with conference facility with a sitting capacity of 450.  

The project was estimated to be $17 million.  

“During the initial EOI that the company expressed during the bid­ding of the land, the company had stated that it will construct a park for people to utilise in the other half of the land,” the report noted Mr Meghji saying.  

“The company will be constructing playing fields for kids, a picnic spot for people to use that will have BBQ stands so that those who go to Shir­ley Park will still be able to utilize that area.”  

P Meghji also proposed to con­struct a jetty on the foreshore oppo­site the proposed site, which will be the gateway to the Yasawa Islands.  

The first groundbreaking was car­ried out by Parveen Bala, who was the Special Administrator of Lau­toka then.  

In 2015, another groundbreaking was done by former Attorney-Gen­eral Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.  


Lautoka City Council currently holds the 99-year lease (Crown Lease CL6652) of Shirley Park, of which the Director of Lands is the landlord.  

The council had proposed to re­zone the area of land (4732 square meters) from Civic to Special Use (Tourism) to boost the economy of Lautoka City.  

Following the rezoning, the total remaining land area is 9.9191 hect­ares.  

The rezoning plan was provision­ally approved on June 18, 2013.  

The approval to sublease Shirley Park for hotel development was granted by the former Minister for Local Government via letter dated May 10, 2013, the parliamentary re­port noted.  

Application for rezoning, subdivi­sion and subleasing was made to the Ministry of Lands and Mineral Resources on February 7, 2013, and subsequent approval was obtained on 30 November 2013, it highlighted.  

Application for rezoning was pro­visionally approved by the Minister for Local Government on July 31, 2014, the report added.  

The council has 111 parks and open spaces with a total area of 61.5 hect­ares out of which 22 hectares fall within the periphery of CBD area including Botanical Garden, Fenner Park, Coronation Park, IYC Park, Churchill Park, Marine Drive and Shirley Park.  


Lautoka Residents and Ratepay­ers Association president Narayan Reddy is calling on the return of the portion of land to the people of Lautoka.  

Mr Reddy and many other rate­payers had objected to the develop­ment when it was proposed. He still stands by his objection today. 

“We have written to the Minister for Local Government Maciu Kata­motu requesting a meeting, he has agreed because we want that piece of land to be returned to the people of Lautoka,” he said.  

“They did the groundbreaking twice, after that the place has be­come an eyesore. They have cor­doned off the area with corrugated iron. The fenced off area is used as a storage yard sometimes; it is mostly overgrown with grass.”  

Mr. Reddy said they had raised the issue numerous times with Govern­ment, both previous and current.  

“They (P Meghi) get a development lease for a certain number of years, and if there is no development with­in those number of years, they lose the land, regardless of the amount of money they’ve paid or haven’t paid.”  

“We are not against development, but any development that comes at a cost,” Mr. Reddy said. 

Story By: Ivamere Nataro 

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