China United, the developer of Town Ground plaza in Honiara, has defended it business permit that allows them to lease spaces in the plaza.
The company also denied receiving any form of advice or letter from the Attorney General on its business permit that needs detailed clarification.
Managing Director, Shiyao Guo told the Sunday Star through his translator Ms Summer, they followed the rightful procedure.
“We did not receive any advice or letter from the attorney general except from the Honiara City Council,” he said.
China United was understood to have followed the channel through the Minister of Lands who then instructed the Town and Country Planning Board in 2012 to consider modification of the development to be completed on stages.
That modified development plan seeks occupancy licences to be awarded on a stage by stage completion of the Plaza building.
The minister’s letter dated 25th July 2012 states, “…I had exercised minister’s power under subsection 19(3) to resolve the matter. That subsection 19(3) gives the Minister wide power to ‘vary any part of the decision of the board whether or not the appeal relates to that part, and may deal with the application as if it had been made to him in the first instance.
“…decision of the minister on any appeal made to him under this section shall be final and conclusive and shall not be questioned in any proceedings whatsoever.
“Therefore, there is nothing more the Town and Country Planning Board or the Honiara City Council can do to affect or reverse my decision,” the letter stated.
This on Attorney General’s opinion,the developer has erred seeking appeal from the Minister of Lands and that the board’s decision to grant occupancy permit based on a modified plan by the company is unlawful as well.
Given the AG’s advice, China United’s business operation at the Townground is unlawful and the company should halt letting out spaces for business houses.
Recently the board issued the business permit but it was believed to have done intentionally, sidelining conditions set out by the Health Inspectorates of Honiara City Council.
But Chief Health Inspector, George Titiulu clarified inspection carried out as required by the HCC bylaws have been done thoroughly.
“The major concerns to us were the sewage system connection to the building and the environmental health side to which we are satisfied of our findings.
“Recommendation was given to the Town and Country Planning Board,” he said.
Titiulu also denied bypassing procedures for building inspections, and that the recommendations were not literally done.
A copy of the granted permit dated 19th May 2014 however stated: “…has been inspected and in my opinion, fit for human occupation/habitat,” was signed by the Chief Health Inspector.
According to documents obtained, Business Licence to China United recently was approved on 18th July 2014 and will expire 31st December 2014.
BY BRADFORD THEONOMI