Malaita’s Agriculture and Livestock extension office in Auki has been burnt completely early Monday morning.
The provincial administrative building dated 1960’s is located along Sikitae Street.
Provincial Agriculture Chief Officer John Faleka told the Solomon Star office in Auki there were important provincial documents that were lost in the blaze.
Mr Faleka revealed that important files consumed in the blaze included Malaita’s cattle project files, Auluta Oil Palm Project progressive reports, Malaita slaughter house initiative reports, Rural Development Program (RDP) records, Small Holder Program (SHP) records, ongoing Women in Agriculture extension Services Program (WAESP) reports, Climate Change reports and UNDP’s $5.5m SWoCK (Strongim Waka lo Community fo Kaikai) Climate Change resilience files stored in computer hard drive.
He said three PC’s, one laptop, two water pumps, one generator, one chainsaw and office stationeries were burnt.
The building has been vacated December last year with a contractor set to begin demolition work this week to pave way for a new building.
Officers early this year moved into a temporary office space in a building downtown, Auki.
John Faleka said he shifted some important project files during their relocation.
“Lucky I remove most PC’s and folders that stored important reports and updated records to our new office.
“I also know that some files were stored and have their records catalogued at our head office in Honiara.”
He said there biggest concern now is to recollect, rewrite and retrieve audit reports to set paperwork in order again.
The burnt administrative block is demarcated into Extension, Oil Palm, Planning, Research, Livestock and Climate Change divisions.
A person residing in a nearby house said he heard noises and splinting of broken glasses minutes before fire started to crackle from the research division block.
The security personnel was reported to have been absent from duty on that night.
Police fire truck and personnel arrived at the scene but could not salvage the building.
Other reports from surrounding residential houses led police and Auki townsfolk to believe the incident was intentional.
Police investigations are underway.
The policy framework outlined by the newly elected executive headed by Premier Peter Chanel Ramohia prioritized Agriculture as one of their key economic drivers.
And nearly $16 million were allocated for Malaita’s agricultural development to rehabilitate coconut, cattle, cocoa, agriculture research and development, and women’s agriculture programme by the past governments.
By TEDDY KAFO