Twelve landowning units from six villages in Cakaudrove and Macuata took over a sawmill on Sunday afternoon, demanding payment for logging of their forest.
More than 100 employees of Valebasoga Tropikboard sawmill in Labasa were sent home after the illegal invasion by the landowners.
Labasa Police Station Officer, Inspector Ram Chetty said they were trying to substantiate the landowners’ cause of action.
Sawmill administrator and receiver, Ilaitia Boila of Pricewaterhouse-Coopers said the landowners had no legal base to their claim because the company was not logging the landowners’ forest.
An emergency meeting yesterday morning between all stakeholders, the Native Land Trust Board, the Forestry Department, the Police, the mill administrators, the Mataqali whose forests were logged and the villagers involved in the takeover revealed that the takeover was illegal.
Following the meeting, a traditional apology was offered to Tui Labasa and Tui Macuata.
The law is however, expected to take its’ cause.