‘Within law’

The dying vegetation and dried up lake at Wainisavulevu in Naitasiri. Picture: SIKELI QOUNADOVU/FILE

ENERGY Fiji Ltd (EFL) said yesterday it acted within the law and followed all processes required of it by Government before raising the Wainisavulevu Weir in 2015.

At a press conference yesterday, EFL board chairman Daksesh Patel said the company had followed due process and had engaged and consulted people.

“We acted lawfully and ensured that we fulfilled every requirement that is stipulated by the law,” he said.

“We had actually consulted the landowners.” Mr Patel also denied reports that the weir was raised by eight metres.

He said it had been raised by only six metres. He did not answer questions about an EFL “project brief” on its website saying that the weir had been raised by eight metres.

EFL changed the document on its website after the press conference (see separate report inside).

Mr Patel said The Fiji Times should have consulted other environmentalists and conservationists about the weir project.

“Why are these people raising these issues now when they could have raised all these matters and concerns at the time of the construction of the dam? If they were so aware of the environment impact and damages and subsequent impact of building such a dam, if they were so cautious of the environment then they could have raised through your newspaper, The Fiji Times, Fiji Sun, any other media to raise this issue, but they kept quiet,” he said.

“The silence is in fact an acceptance. That silence, ignorance now being raised is wrong, “I don’t know what is the purpose, I don’t know what is the intention behind raising the issue this time and now when the project is well and truly finished. “In fact there was no criticism back then because we followed the process. There was no case to answer then.”

Asked why EFL had not answered questions sent to EFL chief executive officer Hasmukh Patel by The Fiji Times two weeks ago, Mr (Daksesh) Patel said it was not fair to require the CEO to respond as he was overseas.

He said he was unaware that Mr (Hasmukh) Patel had twice informed The Fiji Times that he would respond to questions.

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