By Alfred Sasako
SOLOMON Forest Association (SFA) – the nation’s self-regulatory organisation and watch dog on illegal logging activities – has fired the first salvo in a long running row over illegal logging approvals.
It follows accusations that SFA was involved in a joint venture arrangement with a company called FR Resources Ltd, which is engaged in logging operations in Choiseul. Lawyers representing FR Resources Ltd, James Ronnie Kaboke Law Practice’s (Barrister & Solicitor) has this year written two letters querying SFA’s alleged Joint Venture involvement with FR Resources Limited and the second on Mutual of Understanding with the SFA.
In a letter this week, the has fired back, urging the Commissioner of Forests, Reeves Moveni “to investigate and expeditiously revoke all approvals as granted to FR Resources Ltd like TA approval, ALP, Export Permits and etc including issuing seizure orders for machines used to commit the illegal logging.”
“FR Resources Ltd is not even a member of SFA,” the SFA said.
In the letter to Commissioner Moveni, the SFA said:
“The Mutual of Understanding executed by FR Resources Ltd (represented by Mr Richmond Yong) and Mr Cromwell Qopoto and Mr John Garaba of ES Suba Enterprises Ltd was fraudulently executed with the good name of SFA being dragged in to justify FR Resources Ltd association with SFA.
“The Mutual of Understanding was used to deceive and camouflage unsuspecting parties that FR Resources Ltd having SFA as a joint venture partner legalizes FR Resources Ltd to carry out logging activities as stipulated under Legal Notice (LN) 114.
“LN 114 clearly stipulates that only members of SFA are permitted to carry out logging activities but recently this ACT under the Forests Research and Timber Utilisation Act (FRTU) Act has been violated,” the SFA said.
Island Sun has obtained a copy of Mr Sy’s letter as well as copies of the so-called agreement and Mutual between FR Resources Ltd and SFA.
“We seek respected Commissioner rectification of such abuses with FR Resources Ltd as one example, the letter said.
“Commissioner, SFA is an objective organisation of timber companies and hence DO(ES) NOT enter into any agreement or join venture partnership with any logging companies and thus make SFA purported joint venture with FR Resources Ltd even more incredulous!
“SFA is also very concerned as to why (it) was not flagged of any suspicion by Forestry to such unholy joint venture partnership with FR Resources Ltd before issuing regulatory approvals to FR Resources Ltd.
Moreover, with SFA being mentioned (as) joint venture partner, why no queries were raised as to why SFA is not a party to the signature,” SFA asked.
“We seek, respected Commissioner, rectification of such abuses with FR Resources Ltd as one example,” the letter dated 6th August said.
“SFA strongly urge(s) respected Commissioner to investigate and expeditiously revoke all approvals as granted to FR Resources Ltd like TA approval, ALP, Export Permits and etc including issuing seizure orders for machines used to commit the illegal logging.
“FR Resources Ltd is NOT a member of SFA and hence cannot carry out logging activities as per stipulation in Legal Notice (LN) 114.”