AG says he’s not aware of forestry moratorium
THE Attorney General’s Office is not aware of any moratorium endorsed by Cabinet on the logging industry.
This came after the Solomons Forest Association (SFA) claimed there was a moratorium endorsed by Cabinet about a year ago.
However, government did not implement the moratorium which resulted in illegal activities of some logging companies in the country.
One classic example was an Asian company, Richfield Timber Company Ltd, that landed its machineries in west Guadalcanal in defiance of a High Court Order issued by Justice Rex Foukona on 27 April this year.
The company landed its machineries and equipment at Kokomu Seafront 0n 29 April this year, two days after the High Court Order was issued against it.
To date, a one and half kilometre road has been built inland despite the orders stopping any logging related activities..
Attorney General, James Apanaia said he was not aware of any moratorium.
However, Mr Apanaia said he is aware there’s an intention by government not to allow registration of any more logging companies.
Furthermore, SFA has called on the government to address the deficiency in the logging industry.
“It now appears competent authorities have done nothing since, allowing corrupt logging operations to continue unabated, demonstrating as we have seen in this case, a complete disregard for the law of the land,” a spokesman for SFA said.
“I must warn that unless the Government takes immediate and urgent steps to address this problem in the forestry industry, we will dissolve the SFA so that everyone has a level playing field when it comes to corruption in this country,” he said.
The spokesman said SFA has consistently raised the matter with the Government, both in writing as well as verbally.
The SFA last wrote to the Commissioner of Forests about the matter as late as April this year.
By EDDIE OSIFELO