AN East Fataleka landowner says claim by Evita Solomon Ltd that William Gua is a trouble-maker is disrespectful.
Lynson Itea said Mr Gua is a landowner and a respected man in east Fataleka and for Evita to label him a trouble maker is demeaning.
“Whatever names Evita and its local associates wish to call Mr Gua, they need to be told that Mr Gua holds the power of attorney over Burara land in east Fataleka,” Mr Itea said.
His comments came following news of a seizure notice the Commissioner of Forest Reeves Moveni issued to Evita on 6 August 2015 to seize the company’s machineries and forest produces.
Evita, an Australian company, has been given licence to operate an agro-forest project in east Fataleka.
Since 2013, the company has been felling trees to clear the land for the project. The logs were exported overseas.
Mr Itea praised the Commissioner of Forest for taking such action.
“The commissioner did the right thing because I’ve also successfully lodged an interim injunction case against Evita to stop operating on Burara land,” Mr Itea said.
“Judge Rex Foukona ruled early this year for Evita to restraint its operation on Burara land. The ruling still stands,” he added.
It’s understood Evita has moved out of Burara land since landowners started arguing over its ownership.
Evita:s acting general manager Aaron Troy Cassar last week described the commissioner of forests’ action as a “death blow” to his company’s operation in Malaita.
He said since 2014 Evita has invested well over SBD$20 million into east Fataleka, including new machines, other equipment, building materials, fuel, wages paid locally and so on.
“The company employed 37 persons full-time from the local area plus over a dozen casuals,” he added.
“No expat operators were employed. The company trained locals to do skilled jobs and to learn how to drive heavy machinery to build roads, construct bridges, and clear land.
“Over SBD$2 million was paid in wages, including PAYE, NPF since 2014 to local staff.
“This money has been used to really improve the quality of life in the area and this can been seen by all the new housing we have supported to create.
“What other company is injecting that sort of money into Malaita?
“And yet this is how we are thanked by the Government of this country.”
In his seizure notice, Mr Reeves said his office took the action because Evita trespassed onto land they were not licensed to operate.