Forest commissioner says the logging firm fails to comply with suspension order.
The country’s giant logging company Earth Movers Solomons Limited has been served with a seizure notice on June 6, 2014.
The seizure notice came following reports the company failed to comply with a suspension letter the Commissioner of forest issued to the company on March 31 this year.
In the seizure notice, the commissioner of forest Reeves Moveni told the company he had received renewed complaint that despite the suspension orders of March 31, logging operation continued on lands that were not covered under the felling licence of the company.
“Your continual operation and mobilizing machineries on areas not cover under your felling licence is a serious breach of the suspension order,” Mr Moveni said in the order.
He said Earth Movers had committed a forest offence in relation to Section 4 of the Forest Resources and Timber Utilization Act (FRTUA) in particular to logs felled and extracted from the customary lands that does not covered in the felling license TIM2/12A.
The commissioner said in exercising his powers under Section 33 of the FRTUA, he seizes all forest produce together with all machineries and equipment used in the commission of the offence by the company.
In the seizure order, the commissioner has advised Earthmovers Solomons Limited to;
1. Furnish the commissioner of forests with all list of machineries/equipment used in the commissioning of the forest offence.
2. Furnish to the office of the commissioner the full log list (volume, species and grade)of logs felled outside of the company’s licensed areas.
The commissioner further warned the company that this matter will be subject to the magistrate court for deliberation, therefore the company can apply to the magistrate if it believes it had done nothing wrong.
Speaking on behalf of the company yesterday, MPA for Malango ward of Guadalcanal Walton Naezon who used to be hired by the company as its corporate advisor said the company is taking the commissioners decision to court.
He said the decision of the forest commissioner was unprocedural on grounds that they have written an appeal letter to the forest minister and without a response from the minister, they get a seizure order instead.
“It is not right for the commissioner of forest to act that way. The company had written an appeal to the minister and expect a response from him. But there is no response to the appeal letter and yet the commissioner went ahead to issue the seizure letter which is unprocedural,” MR Naezon said.
He said because of this, the company has left everything to the company’s lawyer to handle and let the courts to decide.
He added that all the lands the company operated on are license under the company since the 1980’s.
“To operate on these lands, the company has to get an approval letter for its harvesting and coup plan which Earth movers did. But there is also another company SINO Capital which was also issued a license on the same land two years ago.
“Interestingly this company SINO Capital operates without a harvest and coup plan as reported by a forestry officer,” he said.
He added that since the suspension letter was issued, Earthmovers ceased operation on the particular block of land called Popoilo.
However reports reaching this paper said Earthmovers continued to breach the commissioner of forest’s suspension order and now seizure order because the company has the support and backing of certain top profile leaders of the country.
But Earthmovers denied those reports saying they have complied to the orders but it was the commissioner of forests and the minister that have failed to respond to their appeal letter.
By Daniel Namosuaia