‘Tubi logs under Forestry tight surveillance’
Forestry officers who manned the controversial Tubi logs on San Jorge Islands say that they have not received any directive from the headquarters to facilitate the export of the logs by Malaysian logging company Sunrise Investment Ltd.
That’s according to reliable sources within the Ministry of Forestry and Research yesterday.
A couple of attempts were made to get hold of any Forestry officers in Isabel.
Just last night one officer who spoke to this paper from the ground in Isabel Provincial confirmed that these Tubi logs were seized from the company by the government last year.
The owner of the logging company Richard Song Sing Ngea from Malaysia was fined $50,000, by the Magistrate Court
This was after he pleaded guilty to one count of illegal harvesting of restricted species without a license, export, or attempt to export restricted specimen under Schedule 11 without being an approved person and without a valid permit and one count of possession of illegally obtained specimen.
The media recently reported that they have sighted documents Minister of Environment, Titus Fika had instructed Customs and other authorities last December to facilitate the export of the logs by Malaysian logging company Sunrise Investment Ltd.
But Fika denied the claims reported in the media recently.
The Solomon Star managed to speak with forestry officers on the ground in Isabel and was told that they have not receive any directive from their headquarter in Honiara.
“In fact, we were only told by the Malaysian logging company Sunrise Investment Ltd boss that the government had lifted the Tubi ban for export.
“But when we check with the Ministry of Forestry office last week in Honiara we were told that there was no approval from the government to export the restricted Tubi logs,” the officer said.
From the interview, it was evident that the Malaysian logging company Sunrise Investment Ltd said the government had approved them to sell the Tubi logs while the Ministry of Forestry said the ban is still intact.
But who gave this logging company the okay button is still sketchy at the moment.
A reliable source within the Ministry of Forestry also told this paper that the ministry is worried that the company might ship the Tubi to another site which will make it easy for them to load it (Tubi) without the officers monitoring it.
“The Ministry of Forestry is aware of this and has requested their officers in Buala to frequently monitor the Tubi logs on-site,” the source said.
According to a report cited by this paper yesterday the total volume of Tubi on the ground at the moment is 500m3.
The total logs were around 1,400 which are currently located in Korona the area concession area excluding the logs that were still lying in the bush.
This paper understands that the Minister for Forestry Dickson Mua is very much aware that the case over the ownership issue is before the High Court.
By ANDREW FANASIA