THE missing beche-de-mer consignment that attracted heated debate nationally belongs to the resource owners, Attorney General Billy Titiulu admitted in Parliament on Wednesday.
When asked for his legal view on the state of the missing consignment and who owns it, Mr Titiulu said the consignment remains the property of resource owners and not the state’s.
“It will remain the property of resource owners until such time the minister issues a notice to compound those under Fisheries Act,” he said.
He said the fisheries director has not issued a notice to compound the consignment.
“So it’s not state’s property.”
Aoke Langalanga MP Mathew Wale then questioned what the government is waiting for in terms of issuing a notice for compoundment seeing that it’s already a year.
Fisheries Minister Alfred Ghiro said his ministry is in the process of bringing the case before the Attorney General for advice when the consignment was removed.
“There are empty containers at the Ministry’s compound. We need to recover the products first before we can issue a notice of compoundment,” Mr Ghiro said.
The speaker of Parliament Sir Allan Kemakeza then asked the government to bring to the floor of Parliament answers on the matter before the weekend.
The Prime Minister pledged to inform the house as requested by the speaker.
Meanwhile, in relation to reports that the Cabinet will soon reopen the ban, Mr Lilo said there was no decision to lift the beche-de-mer harvest ban.
“Cabinet never pushes the Minister to reopen the ban.”
By EDNAL PALMER