Walesi CEO Sanjay Maharaj says the Walesi Network Hub experienced no disruptions during TC Cody thanks to the design of its infrastructure however the National Federation Party Vice President and MP Lenora Qereqeretabua says Walesi needs to improve its internal controls, timeliness and effectiveness of financial reporting instead of bragging about staying operational throughout a Category 1 system which never made landfall in Fiji.
Maharaj says their infrastructure had been planned with cyclone resilience in mind, constant monitoring by its Network Operations Centre and contingency plans for power disruptions at their sites.
He says especially during natural disasters, Fijians need to have the latest news and updates and it has always been their goal to be well prepared beforehand in the event of such disasters.
Maharaj says this is why a lot of forethought and planning has gone into ensuring that their platform can weather these conditions, and all their sites are rated for Category 5 cyclones.
The CEO says their head-end services which receive communication signals for local distribution were working as normal during TC Cody.
He says their hard-working teams conduct regular preventive maintenance of equipment and transmission sites, as well as the redundancy systems they have in place in case their main system fails, and they have 2 backup generators with 10,000L fuel tanks at each transmission site.
Maharaj says in the past, similar disasters disrupted analogue television services, and restoration took a lot of time as the non-availability of analogue replacement gear is a key challenge for maintaining analogue services.
He says this is yet another reason why digital television is a superior platform since repairs are much easier as any required replacement parts are much more readily available.
Walesi Board Chairman, Robert Khan says the stability of the Walesi platform is one of the biggest reasons to switch over from analogue television.
Khan says in addition to the wide coverage provided by the Walesi network, allowing many Fijians who live in rural and maritime areas to finally have access to live TV, the resilience of their network is a major advantage, considering that Fiji regularly experiences cyclones.
Meanwhile, Lenora Qereqeretabua says damage to infrastructure, farms and crops were caused by floods, and Walesi, like other communication providers were spared because its towers did not suffer any damage.
She says Western Viti Levu was without power, with electricity restored to some areas in almost a week, so they were denied television service, so Walesi should stop bragging and start being transparent and accountable as the people need answers and not boastfulness.
Qereqeretabua also says government should answer why Robert Khan, who is the owner of Radio Tarana of New Zealand, is named as the Board Chair of Walesi in its statement.
Qereqeretabua also asked why is someone domiciled in New Zealand closely linked to an organization 100 percent owned and controlled by Government.
She questions why is Robert Khan also listed as the Principal on Walesi profile on Dun & Bradstreet Corporation, a firm based in the United States that provides commercial data analytics and insights for businesses as well as other services.
Qereqeretabua also asked why is Walesi’s modelled revenue listed to be USD$14.58 million, equivalent to around FJD$30 million on Dun & Bradstreet.
She says these are questions that can only be answered through an independent investigation.
Qereqeretabua says Walesi has been allocated over $67 million of taxpayer funds since 2015 and this is not a small change.
We have sent questions to the CEO of Walesi Sanjay Maharaj. He says that they will revert soon.
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