On August 11, 2016, Clare Bronfman [and her Ack Group of Companies] purchased Wakaya Ltd, which owns about 80 percent of Wakaya Island, a small [2,200 acre/eight square mile] island in Fiji.
Miss Bronfman already owned a private home on Wakaya prior to purchasing Wakaya Ltd, from David and Jillian Gilmour.
Miss Bronfman is the financier of Keith Raniere’s business and teaching enterprises.
Mr. Raniere is her acknowledged mentor and Miss Bronfman has also been reported to have made a lifelong Vow of obedience to Mr. Raniere as his “slave” and joined his harem.
Some believe Miss Bronfman purchased then land in the Fiji’s as part of a plan for Mr. Raniere and her and select members of his harem to leave the US in the event that prosecution seems imminent.
The then- uninhabited island of Wakaya was bought in 1973 by Gilmour, a gold-mining entrepreneur who developed the island, building 22 kilometres of roads, a freshwater reservoir, an airstrip, marina, jetty, village, church, gym, school and a runway.
He also developed the Wakaya Club & Spa, an exclusive resort with 10 luxury bungalows with a staff of 300. It also houses a large private villa and four private beaches.
He sold off about 20 percent of the island to private interests. There are about a dozen exclusive homes and other private ownership interests on the island.
Wakaya’s populatian is 300-600 people.
Mr. Gilmour started a business in 2009 called Wakaya Perfection which sources a range of organic wellness products from Wakaya, which Mr. Gilmour, 85, plans to continue to own and operate. Prior to that Gilmour founded FIJI Water, one of the country’s biggest export earners.
The sales agreement between Miss Bronfman and Mr. Gilmour permit him to continue to spend time on the island, as he operates the business. In prior years Mr. Gilmour and his wife spent about four months on the island. He is a native of Australia.
Wakaya is 18 kilometres from Ovalau, the main island in the Lomaiviti Group.
If Mr. Raniere and Miss Bronfman were to be criminally charged in the USA it is hard to predict whether they would be expedited.
Fiji has entered into bilateral agreements on surrender of fugitive offenders with the United States. However, a person can be extradited to the United States only if the offence is a serious crime in Fiji. More importantly, extradition will NOT be approved if one of a number of Fiji officials determines that the offence is a political one, the purpose being to punish the person because of his religion, political opinion, religious, or philosophical teachings, or that surrender may be prejudiced by these considerations.
Any one of a series of officials can put a halt to extradition starting with the Attorney-General. If the Fiji Attorney General denies extradition then the person will not extradited. If they authorize extradition, a Magistrate conducts proceedings to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to warrant extradition.
If the Magistrate agrees to extradition, a Judge decides if the person is to be extradited.
A judge may deny extradition or decide that instead of extradition he will allow the person to stand trial in Fiji instead of the USA.
A Judge may also order the person extradited to the United States for trial only, then be returned to Fiji to serve any sentence the Fiji judge imposes.
The US Department of State, in its Human Rights Report on Fiji, stated that bureaucratic corruption in Fiji is systemic. According to the World Bank’s CORRUPTION AND ANTI-CORRUPTION IN FIJI Enterprise Survey 2009, more than 35 per cent of the firms polled consider corruption as a major constraint for doing business in the country.
The Heritage Foundation reports that Fiji does not have an independent legal system and judicial corruption has become a major challenge to Fiji’s governance structure.