Qoliqoli owners claim illegal operation by Pacific Energy

January 18, 2024 6:56 am

Tikina o Wailevu Trust Fund trustee and representative, Laitia Matalomani

The landowners of the District of Wailevu in the province of Cakaudrove are calling for immediate action to be taken against Pacific Energy Limited, which they claim has been illegally operating from their fishing grounds without official approval and agreement.

This has been highlighted to FBC News by the trustee and representative of the Tikina o Wailevu Trust Fund, Laitia Matalomani.

Matalomani claims that Pacific Energy has been illegally operating from their fishing ground at Balaga Bay without a proper lease agreement with the landowners.

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Pacific Energy has been previously subleasing from Coconut Millers using their mooring system until the landowners step in to question the royalty payment since both Fiji Coconut Millers and Pacific Energy are operating on the land and fishing ground owned by the District of Wailevu.

Matalomani further claims that in 2020, a deed of transfer was made for the mooring system between the Wailevu Trust Fund and Fiji Coconut Millers, but till today not a single cent has been made to the rightful custodians of both the land and qoliqoli at Balaga bay.

[Tikina o Wailevu Trust Fund trustee and representative, Laitia Matalomani]

“We have been facing this issue for more than 30 years now, and nothing has happened. There is no proper lease; they are berthing and discharging fuel. They are earning millions and millions of dollars every year, but they barely compensate the Tikina of Wailevu. They hardly listen to our issues that have been raised with the company.

[Pacific Energy Limited terminal at Balaga Bay, Savusavu]

Matalomani asserts that about 14,000 liters of fuel are discharged from the oil tanker vessels that berth illegally with ropes tied to coconut trees on the shores of Balaga Bay twice a month, which has been continuing over the years.

He says despite continuous attempts and concerns raised to relevant authorities over the years regarding the issue, it has been landing on deaf ears since nothing has been done.

The Tikina o Wailevu is pushing for the company to compensate the qoliqoli owners and have a proper lease memorandum of agreement with landowners.

Attempts to get comments from Pacific Energy Limited remains unsuccessful.