A LOGGING company seeking a licence to export its logs has failed to meet government forestry requirements.
This is why SLH Timber Corporation Ltd, currently operating in northwest Guadalcanal, was served a “show cause” letter late last month.
Commissioner of Forest, Reeves Moveni clarified this after SLH Timber’s director Donation Damikura accused the Ministry of Forestry and its minister of blocking his business operations.
Mr Damikura claimed minister Bodo Dettke, who also owns a logging company, is attempting to put him out of business by refusing to grant him the export licence he applied for.
He said two weeks ago, his company was served with the “show cause” letter stating the ministry intends to suspend his business licence.
“I have replied the letter and clarified everything to the ministry that my licence is still valid and legitimate,” he said.
“That same day, I submitted my export application through forestry but was turned down again by the Minister of Forestry for no reasons.
“My licence is still valid and all my logs are now ready for export but the export permit is still being held up,” he said.
“This is my fourth logging operation and the minister now has since been against all of them; we are all trying to help communities here and not tarnishing each other.”
However, Mr Moveni said SLH Timber’s registered business licence is just a bare document.
“The company has not obtained a licence from the ministry to do logging,” he said.
“This is why we served them with the show cause letter for them to explain why we should not stop their operation. But they missed the point made to them.”
Mr Moveni explained in any logging operation, following the process reaching the standard logging agreement is when landowners accept and allow for logging operations to proceed on their land.
“And when the logging operation closes down or terminated by the high court, a closing certificate is served meaning land rights go back to the landowners and every operation comes to a stop.
“This is exactly the case of SLH, their operations have come to cease on 29th September 2009; meaning they no longer have the right to do anymore operations unless they redo a standard logging agreement,” Mr Moveni said.
He said the latest submission SLH made to the ministry is still under verification when all of sudden they came up with the complaints against the minister, which is not right.
“This issue is something to do with regulations and operations, and has nothing to do with the minister.”
Mr Moveni said for this reason, another extension to the initial ‘show cause’ letter was served to SLH on the 11th August 2015 for another seven days.
“Their response should be in regard to applying for the standard logging agreement which means they have to restart again, getting the landowners to agree for their operations to proceed.
“When this is done, this should then follow-on with the permit for export.”
Mr Moveni said currently SLH’s operations are null and void because they don’t have a logging permit from the ministry.
Minister Dettke said he was surprised of SLH’s accusations.
By BRADFORD THEONOMI