NEWS

Defence Witness Tells

He testified that during the meeting, the Government officials had advised them to stay back at the site to continue construction works at Solevu Village, however, they were also informed that no works were to be carried out at the site.
22 Dec 2020 11:15
Defence Witness Tells
From left: Freesoul Real Estate Development (Fiji) PTE Limited Project Officer Saula Sovanivalu, lawyer David Toganivalu and Tevita Uluibau Draunidalo Cagilaba outside the courthouse in Suva on August 26, 2020. Photo: Ashna Kumar

A former employee for Freesoul Real Estate Development yesterday testified that he was not aware that the Department of Environment employees were visiting and inspecting the site at Malolo Island.

Rusiate Nagatalevu was a security guard on site and was one of the witness in the trial against Freesoul Real Estate Development (Fiji) PTE Limited at the Magistrates Court in Suva yesterday.

The trial is presided by Magistrate Seini Puamau at the Magistrates Court in Suva.

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

Nagatalevu was the sixth defence witness in Day 7 of the trial.

 

Trial Day 7:

Mr Nagatalevu worked for Freesoul between May 2018 to February 2019.

He told the court that he had overseen the transportation of building materials used to build houses and the school at Solevu Village.

Mr Nagatalevu testified that there was a notice given by the Department of Environment to stop construction work at the site.

He said to his understanding, the notice was for stopping work at Solevu Village.

Mr Nagatalevu testified that the only time he had recognised the Department of Environment officers was when they visited Wacia with Government officials for a meeting in August 2018.

He testified that during the meeting, the Government officials had advised them to stay back at the site to continue construction works at Solevu Village, however, they were also informed that no works were to be carried out at the site.

Mr Nagatalevu claimed in court that works at Solevu Village continued as per the approval given.

He told the court that building materials were brought to Wacia by a barge every week and since there was nowhere for the materials to be placed at Solevu, these materials were kept at Wacia.

He also claimed that when he first came to work for Freesoul in May 2018, the water channel had already been dug up.

He told court that a fibre glass boat belonging to Freesoul was used to deliver construction materials from Wacia to Solevu.

He added that when he started work, there were about 50 locals and less than 20 Asian workers employed by Freesoul constructing the school and houses at Solevu Village.

Meanwhile, Defence witness Krishna Anand Swamy, claimed that he had submitted the outline application for Freesoul to the Town and Country Planning in order to make a Master Plan.

He added that the application was lodged at the Rural Local Authority in Lautoka.

He testified that the application was approved and valid for two years to carry out the second stage of work abiding by the conditions given with the approval.

Mr Swamy told the court that temporary structures were built and needed for geo tech and for the staff to stay while they carried out construction work at Solevu Village.

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

Feedback:  ashna.kumar@fijisun.com.fj

 

 



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