SCC kiosk decision queried

A FORMER tenant of a kiosk at the Suva Municipal Market is questioning the Suva City Council how he and his wife were told they could not operate their small restaurant, yet others still do.

Prem Singh, whose wife Shobna Singh was the tenant of Kiosk 1, said they were told to close their business after a court ruling that their small eatery had not met health and safety regulations.

Mr Singh was surprised that other business operators, who he claimed had not met health and safety standards, were granted a business licence.

Under the Food Safety Regulation 2009, for the issue of a health licence the kiosk must first meet the following requirements:

* Provide a grease trap for the proper collection and disposal of grease and fat;

* Provide hot water system over the sink;

* Replace the single bowl sink with a double bowl sink; and

* Provide a proper hood with exhaust fan with duct and chimney over the cooking area.

In the ruling in 2012, SCC inspectors gave evidence that they inspected the kiosk from time to time and informed the tenants to improve the standard of their kiosk, but this was not done.

According to a letter obtained by this newspaper and mailed to their home address last month, the couple owed the SCC $1265.34 in business licence arrears, despite their licence being revoked since the 2012 court hearing.

Mr Singh confirmed that last month they paid a fine of $2500 as per the court judgment.

In an earlier interview, Mrs Singh said she needed the items back because they were thinking of starting a business, but most of the items they needed were still in the council’s possession.

In an earlier interview, Suva Acting Special Administrator Bijay Chand said the tenant (Mrs Singh) defaulted on her rent for a few months and that was why they confiscated the items in the kiosk until she paid the arrears.

He said the matter was settled in court and Mrs Singh was fined for breaching her licence and the matter was closed.

Mr Chand said he didn’t want to comment further on the issue because it had been through the courts and a judgment was delivered.

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