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Aguni mayor in pickle over land deal

Date Posted: 2002-09-06

Investigation by Aguni Village Assembly into a land deal that they claim is illegal is threatening to land Aguni Village Mayor Masao Shinzato into court. The row started when Shinzato tried to get an entrepreneur who operates a salt factory in the village to share profits from his enterprise with the village, or at least to pay rent for the land. The owner of the company maintains that although he bought the land and built his factory with government subsidy money, the company and profits are legally his.

A subsequent investigation concluded that the mayor had sold the land first to Aguni Village and then the ownership was transferred to the entrepreneur. The investigation also concluded that the mayor had not sought the permission from the local farmersí cooperative to sell the land to the village as required by law. The assembly is now considering whether to take the mayor to the court as recommended by the investigative committee, or pursue other routes to solve the dispute.

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