Ministry investigates Sunday construction
An investigation will be carried out after reports that construction work was carried out last Sunday by a Chinese company without a development consent.
This was confirmed by the Chief Executive Officer for the Ministry of Works, Transport and Infrastructure, Magele Hoe Viali, who said the Ministry is investigating the Zheng Construction company.
In an interview with the Samoa Observer, Magele said his office was made aware of the incident in an article published in the Monday edition of the Samoa Observer under the headline “Unauthorised work on Sunday”.
The Planning and Urban Management Agency (P.U.M.A.) division is carrying out the investigation, he said.
“From the firsthand information I have received from P.U.M.A., the company was not given consent to do works on Sunday,” said Magele.
“I thank your newspaper for the article that we were made aware of the construction works on Sunday.
“P.U.M.A. is investigating it and will be talking to the company about breaching the development consent.”
This newspaper reported that the foreign company was continuing work on a planned new hotel in Moto’otua on Sunday this week.
About ten Samoan and Chinese workers from Zheng Construction were witnessed on site carrying out concrete mixture and moving timber beams as on a normal workday.
The Manager of Zheng Construction, Peizheng Wang, denied the men were working on Sunday; he maintained that they were merely cleaning.
Meanwhile, Magele said the report of the company carrying out construction work on a Sunday was disrespectful.
He pointed out that everyone should honour the state of emergency orders and respect the tradition of Sunday being a day of rest.
The C.E.O. said there were works carried out on Sundays approved by the Authority but only for the airport.
However, he said private companies and other works must adhere to standard development consents that stipulate certain working hours between Monday to Saturday and no work on Sundays.
Magele concluded that a final decision on whether to penalise the company for alleged breaches will be made after the investigation reaches its conclusions.
It will be at the Ministry’s discretion whether to pursue the matter in court criminally.