Call to suspend fisheries PS, director - Solomon Star News

Call to suspend fisheries PS, director

27 July 2018
Beche-de-mer confiscated by the Police at St Nicholas earlier this year.

THERE are continuous calls to suspend the permanent secretary (PS) for the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (MFMR), Christian Ramofafia, and his director, Edward Honiwala, following the recent High Court judgement.

Coastal resource owners and certain people from Ontong Java atoll called on the Cabinet and the Prime Minister Office (PMO) to suspend the PS and the director for what they claimed as helping the Asians, to reclaim their confiscated sea cucumber.

They alleged that these two fisheries officers responsible for the loss of revenue for the country, from the confiscated products that should remain properties of the state.

Their call came following the High Court judgment on April this year that ruled against the claims made by the Asian bechedemer exporters, who argued that the confiscation of their sea cucumber contravene the fisheries regulation.

They said these two fisheries officials must be suspended, for supporting corruption that is now proven wrong by the court of law.

They said the two officers must be kept aside from their job,while investigation continues in the ministry to find out how and why they have refused to work with police and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution (ODPP) on the bechedemer saga.

Arguing, that the court has now proven who tell lies and who tells the truth, so suspension must be taken against these irresponsible officers, unless they challenge the judgment.

Last year, both fisheries officials (PS & Director) refused to cooperate with police and the ODPP on the confiscation of the bechedemers, by police.

But, instead argued to return the products to the Asians.

They told the ODPP and police that the confiscation of the sea cucumbers were done without their knowledge, so they refused to carry out weighing and recording of bechedemer species, kept at the Honiara central police station compound.

The products were later returned to the Asian owners and a High Court case was filed by Sol-Law against the Crown (Magistrate and Police Commissioner).

Sol-Law legal firm represents the bechedemer exporters, whose products were confiscated by police then.

The case filed represents the bechedemer exporters, namely Chen Zhen Company Limited, Zhang Tongzi, Chen Zen, Solomon FVC New Process Import & Export, CI Frank Sheng Song, Oceanic International Limited and Xu Kiang.

The case was filed against the Magistrate Ricky Iomea and the Commissioner of Police(defendants), whom were representing the crown.

However, the High Court judgement ruled in favor of the crown (defendants) and this ruling has spark concern among the coastal resources owners, hence demanding the fisheries’ PS and Director to be suspended.

The two fisheries officials support the controversial bechedemer exporters throughout the saga, and to the extent of assisting them in court against the Magistrate and the Commissioner of Police.