THE Ministry of Forest and Research has hit back at reports published by Island Sun of a major fraud involving the ministry and logging activities on government land.
In its press release, MOFR says “Investigations carrying allegations linking the Ministry of Forestry and Research, Mbetilonga Land Holdings Community Company Limited and One Pacific Company Ltd by Alfred Sasako are erroneous with no facts and are misleading.”
Dismissing the claims, the MOFR in an issued statement describes such an act as ‘poor journalism and unfair’.
It then urged for the practice of fair and balanced reporting by way of verifying information before putting it out for public consumption.
“This is growing trend overtime and a repeated excuse done deliberately to tarnish the Ministry who is generating the much needed revenue for the government and misinforming the public at large.
“It is only proper that you come see us at our office at Lengakiki to raise any complaint or get our side of the story on whatever issues of interest.”
Sasako alleged in Island Sun Newspaper issue 2849, Monday 12, 2018 three parties involved in an earmarked area reserved for the development of Komaridi Hydro Project scheme that was initially proclaimed not viable by government in the ‘90s.
The Forestry office explains that its action in granting approval for development to Mbetilonga Land Holdings Community Company Limited and One Pacific Company Ltd of the said land is not a lone decision.
“In this case, the grantee – Mbetilonga Land Holdings Community Company Limited entrusted under Peter Isaac, Aaron Devesi, Serapino Pero and Sam Kulolo as grantors seeks the office of the Registrar of Lands and Titles for an approval of a ‘grant of profit’.
“That also includes holding of the Perpetual Estate (PE) for the parcel 191-060-1, 191-060-2 and 191-060-3.
“This is the record we have, provided for through the office of the Registrar of Lands and Titles at the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Survey as of April 15, 2015.
“That ‘grant of profit’ gives the grantees to exclusively extract trees, sell timber and logs from parcel 191-060-1, 191-060-2 and 191-060-3.
“Based on that approved ‘grant of profit’, Ministry of Forestry and Research acted upon, and issue the felling licence.
“Thus, we did ensure to check all necessary procedures and requirements are met following the rightful legal process before approval and the issuance of felling Licence.”
It adds there is nothing as illegal; neither any major fraud in the logging industry as claimed and speculated by Sasako in this instance.
“Whilst the Forestry Office welcomes such critic, facts must be right by verifying issues of interest and not to mislead with half-cooked information.”