A failed Fiji resort development that jailed fraudster Rod Petricevic and other Bridgecorp directors poured $106 million has today been officially restarted by the island's nation's prime minister.
Fiji leader Frank Bainimarama official launched the Momi Bay redevelopment project this afternoon, saying the venture was "effectively killed off by mismanagement".
The half-finished Momi Bay resort was the largest property project Bridgecorp had put money towards and in 2006 was to have been the biggest resort development in Fiji and the South Pacific.
The project was running behind schedule and had run into trouble well before Bridgecorp collapsed in July 2007, owing $459 million to 14,500 investors.
Five Bridgecorp directors were later found guilty of misleading investors, with Petricevic and CFO Rob Roest also being convicted for fraud.
In 2009 the Fijian military regime seized Momi Bay against the wishes of Bridgecorp receivers in an effort to stem the losses of the Fiji National Provident Fund (FNPF), which had a $60 million exposure to Momi.
Bainimarama announced in 2012 that the FNPF will invest around $150 million (NZ$103 million) to complete the first stage of the development.
Fletcher Building is a construction partner for the project, the Fiji PM said today.
The resort, which the politician said will generate 400 jobs during construction and another 500 when open, will be operated by global hospitality chain, Marriott.
"In 2016, the new five star Resort - 250 guest rooms including some spectacular over-water bungalows - will open for business, here in Momi," he said.
"We have closed a chapter in which the Momi Bay project...had come to symbolise Fiji's arrested development," he said.
"Today, we draw a line under that failure and celebrate a remarkable turnaround in the fortunes of this project, just as we celebrate the revival of the fortunes of our nation - a booming economy and our new and vibrant democracy," Bainimarama said.