THE GOVERNMENT through the Ministry of Forestry has issued a seizure notice against Asia Pacific Investment Development (APID) to halt any logging operations on Rennell and exports out of the country.
Permanent Secretary (PS) for the Ministry of Forest & Research Vaeno Vigulu disclosed this yesterday.
This follows claims the mining company had felled and export round logs ‘illegally’ without following the right process which angered the landowners in Rennell.
Yesterday Vigulu stated that APIDs’ shipment is held up in Noro for the customs clearance and it is a matter between the Ministry of Forestry and the company.
He added the matter is now pending in High Court, therefore they will leave it for the court to decide on.
“We apply for a seizure notice which means those things become state properties. As a responsible ministry we’ve played our part,” he said.
The PS also clarified that they have not issued any felling licence or export permit for APID to pursue logging activities on Rennell.
He said, what APID did is not right, thus the Forestry Acts empowers the Ministry to issue a seizure notice to halt the operation.
The PS stated that the seizure notice was served to them but APID continue to ignore and load their ships with those logs felled on Rennell Iisland.
“They have done this on their own will,” Vigulu said. “If any forestry officer allows this to happen then we would like to know,” he added.
Rennell landowners said, they wanted to know under what license belonging to APID were round logs felled and exported.
The landowners claimed that APID is in Rennell as a mining company and not logging.
“There was no prior logging process followed in terms of timber rights acquisition because as far as we know, there were no timber rights hearings held so that the company can export round logs.
“Maybe they were taking advantage of clearing for mining but that does not give them right to export round logs.”
By AATAI JOHN