Forestry Minister Mua quashes suspension of logging license


MINISTER of the Ministry of Forest and Research, Dickson Mua Panakitasi, has made a significant decision regarding the suspension of felling license A10112 belonging to Southern Enterprises Sawmilling Company Ltd. and Grace Logging Limited.

The decision comes following a detailed review of the case and a Deed of Settlement and Release submitted by the appellants (Southern Enterprises Sawmilling Company Limited and Grace Logging Limited) and complainants (Chief John Marawa, Reginald Ngati, Joseph Lowe), respectively.

This settlement signifies the resolution of a dispute concerning encroachment into Sulukokolo customary land and the felling and extraction of trees, as confirmed by a forestry field report and administrative orders dated August 23, 2023.

The appellants had initially appealed the decision of the Commissioner of Forest Reeves Moveni to suspend their felling license A10112, citing dissatisfaction with the show cause notice issued by the Commissioner on June 30, 2023, and their subsequent representation dated July 6, 2023.

The suspension was imposed on July 17, 2023, due to breaches of Regulation 10(c) and (e) of the Forest Resources and Timber Utilization (Felling Licenses) Regulations 2005.

In response to the appeal, Minister Mua deferred the decision to allow time for the appellants and complainants to resolve the encroachment issue amicably.

This deferral ultimately led to the submission of the Deed of Settlement and Release, indicating mutual understanding and agreement between the parties involved.

Taking into account the submitted settlement documents and his powers under Section 39(2) of the Forest Resources and Timber Utilization Act, Minister Mua has now decided to quash the suspension order issued by the Commissioner on July 17, 2023.

Consequently, the suspension over felling license A10112 has been lifted.

As part of the resolution, the appellants are required to withdraw immediately from Sulukokolo customary land and compensate the complainant party for their unlawful entry, felling, and tree extraction within the area.

Additionally, they must adhere strictly to the Solomon Islands Code of Logging Practices in their logging operations.

The Minister’s office has emphasized that any breach of these conditions may result in the cancellation of felling license A10112.

This decision by Minister Mua underscores the importance of amicable dispute resolution and adherence to forestry regulations in the Solomon Islands.

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