FIJI NEWS | NEWS

Freesoul Trial Continues

During cross-examination yesterday, the Prosecution’s second witness, Principal Environmental Officer, Senivasa Waqainamasi told the court that Freesoul had misled the Department in their EIA report. This is in the trial
01 Dec 2020 16:28
Freesoul Trial Continues

During cross-examination yesterday, the Prosecution’s second witness, Principal Environmental Officer, Senivasa Waqainamasi told the court that Freesoul had misled the Department in their EIA report.

This is in the trial of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) against Freesoul Real Estate Development (Fiji) PTE Limited.

The trial recommenced yesterday before Magistrate Seini Puamau after a one-week break for cross-examination of the second witness.

The DPP is represented by Shelyn Kiran and Monisha Naidu from the Office of the DPP while Freesoul is represented by David Toganivalu and Tevita Cagilaba from Toganivalu Legal.

Freesoul Real Estate Development (Fiji) PTE Limited is charged by the DPP with one count each of undertaking unauthorised developments and of failure to comply with a prohibition notice.

For the charge of undertaking unauthorised developments, it is alleged that between June 8, 2017 and December 6, 2018, at Malolo in Nadi, Freesoul Real Estate Development (Fiji) PTE Limited carried out development activity on the dry land at Wacia and the foreshore facing Wacia and also on the dry land at Qalilawa and the foreshore facing Qalilawa, which is subject to the

Environmental Impact Assessment process without an approved Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Report.

For the charge of failure to comply with a prohibition notice, it is alleged that between June 1, 2018 and December 6, 2018, at Malolo in Nadi, Freesoul Real Estate Development (Fiji) PTE Limited failed to comply with a prohibition notice issued against the company on June 1, 2018.

 

Trial Day 4:
Ms Waqainamasi testified in court that Freesoul’s consultant, who conducted the environment impact study for the EIA, provided misleading information.

She also told the court that she was part of the process in screening Freesoul’s EIA application until the signatory, which was of the Director.

When questioned by Mr Toganivalu whether she was aware that Freesoul had applied to the Director of Lands for a foreshore lease of 98 acres, Ms Waqainamasi told the court that she was aware, however, it was 110 acres at that time.

She also testified that Freesoul was given EIA approval in December, 2018.

She told the court that this was after the independent process based on the EIA report submitted to the Department of Environment by Freesoul.

She also testified that the Department had undertaken all necessary processes of the review under the compliance of the Terms of Reference of the application before it was approved.

She also testified that Freesoul had received their EIA approval for both Wacia and Qalilawa at Malolo Island by the Director of Environment.

She told the court that the approval was based on the EIA report that was submitted to the department by Freesoul’s EIA registered consultant.

Ms Waqainamasi told the court Qalilawa was not included in the EIA screening application initially, however, later on added in the EIA report by Freesoul.

She claimed that the registered consultant for this EIA report had allegedly provided misleading information in the EIA report and the department had relied on this EIA.

She testified that was a breach issue by the company after the issuing of the prohibition notice dated June 1, 2018.

She told the court that Freesoul still continued development works at the site after the issuing of the notice.

Ms Waqainamasi claimed in court that in October 2018, the Department had conducted a public consultation at Solevu Village for the purpose of the EIA review process for Freesoul.

She testified that other hoteliers and owners were present during the consultations.

She also claimed that one of the issues raised at the meeting was the number of rooms that Freesoul would develop at the site and that it had been raised by a representative from Plantation Island Resort.
Feedback: ashna.kumar@fijisun.com.fj



Five Square diwali dhamaka 2021


Get updates from the Fiji Sun, handpicked and delivered to your inbox.


By entering your email address you're giving us permission to send you news and offers. You can opt-out at any time.


Tower Insurance
FNPF
Covid 19 - SPC
Fiji Sun Instagram
Subscribe-to-Newspaper