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Construction firm escapes penalty for Sunday work

A construction company found to have carried out unauthorised work on Sunday will not be penalised or fined for their non-compliance. 

The Zheng Construction company has been warned against working on Sunday and to comply with conditions in its development permit issued by the Planning and Urban Management Agency.  

In an interview with the Samoa Observer, the Ministry of Works, Transport and Infrastructure C.E.O., Magele Hoe Viali, said the company management has maintained they had no knowledge of the unauthorised works. 

Magele said there was a time that another Chinese construction company was allowed to carry out work on Sunday and Zheng Construction might have mistakenly presumed that they were also allowed to do so. 

Asked if the Ministry will fine or penalise the Zheng Construction, Magele said that would mean the matter has to be pursued further in Court. 

He said the company has been given a warning and has also been reminded that construction works can only be carried out on Monday to Saturday. 

Earlier this month the General Manager for Zheng Construction, Peizheng Wang, said the company has sacked three workers who were blamed for working on a Sunday in April. 

Mr. Wang also confirmed that since the incident the company had suspended work for the hotel project in Moto’otua for several weeks.

He said the local authority has warned his company against carrying out unauthorised as initially reported by the Samoa Observer.   

“I have terminated [the service of] two Chinese and one Samoan,” said Mr. Wang. 

“They were the ones that were doing hammer work, I told them to clear the route for the truck to use the next day, but they did work and now we in trouble. 

“This is our first warning and last warning from PUMA, or else we will have our permit cancelled…”

The Planning and Urban Management Agency (P.U.M.A.) conducted an investigation into Zheng Construction in April, when it received reports that the company carried out unauthorised work on Sunday. 

Zheng Construction was asked by the Ministry to file a report explaining why its staff did construction work on Sunday in the absence of a permit to do so. 

Mr. Wang – who blamed his workers for working on Sunday without his knowledge – said the workers were living on the construction site when the incident occurred. 

Upset about the “disruption on the project”, the General Manager said he has decided to suspend works for the project for now, saying he fears having his permit revoked. 

The privately-owned three-storey hotel, just down the road from the Tupua Tamasese Meaole National Hospital in Moto’otua, is estimated to have 20 rooms when complete.

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