By EDDIE OSIFELO
A fake minute was created to prove that Western Province Executive under former Premier David Gina approved Certificate of Determination for Sabere/Vuvure, Bokere, Misusado and Kasu customary land in Rendova on 12th July 2019.
The extra-ordinary meeting allegedly took place in Gizo in spite of no Timber Rights hearing being held by Sambere Vurevure Association, Western Province and the licensee.
It was claimed the Timber Right Hearings were conducted in Munda and Gizo before the Western Executive granted the determination.
Chief Forester Operation officer, Robert Tura confirmed in his letter to Commissioner of Forest on 5th June 2020 that the Form 1 application for Sambere Vurevure Customary land and other land situated within Ughele area was submitted for deliberation on 17th January 2016.
He claimed the applicant was Glengrow (SI) Company Ltd.
âIn fact, there was no funding available to finance the sitting in 2016, so the hearing was not eventuated or took place.
âThe Deputy Provincial Secretary, therefore wrote a letter to the Landowner Association to inform them that there will be no Timber Right Hearing held as Scheduled, as funding was not forth coming,â Tura said.
As such, he said there was no Timber Right Hearing as mentioned on 12th July 2019 by Sambere Vurevure Association.
âOur office records and the Provincial Office records have shown that there was no Timber Right Hearing for Sambere Vurevure Customary lands and other land on 12th July 2019.
âWhat has been created now is a false document and fraud,â Tura said.
âI would also like to declare that, should there be any internal arrangements with the Association and the Panel, then I would like to squash my name out from the Panel at that claimed sitting or hearing, as such is illegal and does not follow the process.
âI honestly and faithfully declared that the above statements are true to the best of my knowledge,â he added.
According to the Minutes cited by Island Sun, the former holder of the felling licence, Bulacan Integrated Wood Industries, is no longer investing in logging and have left the operation 13 years ago to undertake timber processing activities.
Aseri Tamana, who was the former Chairman of Savubo Association and licensee, claimed the felling license under Bulacan Integrated Wood Industries is valid.
He said Savubo Association following its decision to terminate its Standard Logging Agreement with the company, sought surrender of the license to the association.
During the extra-ordinary meeting, the Western Executive resolved to:
- Endorse Skinner Alick to replace Alick Hite as trustee of Sasabere, Vuvure and Bokere customary land and Solini George Lilo replacing George Pina Lilo deceased as Kasu customary land trustee.
- Endorse Bulacan Integrated Wood Industries (SI) Company Felling License No: A10449 to Savubo Association Board
- Grant Timber right over Sabere, Vuvure, Bokere, Misusado, and Kasu customary land to Savubo Association.
When contacted, recently ousted Premier Gina said he would have to check the record because it was long time ago.
Redfern Alesina, who was the former Minister for Fisheries and Marine Resources, said he was not aware of any extra sitting to approve the determination.
He recalled the extra sitting was to change the directorship and not making any determination.
Jennings Movobule, who was then Minister for Planning and Project Coordinator could not remember the extra sitting as well.
Movobule believed the sitting could happen after he was sacked by the Executive.
However, Tamana said it was the mistake of Commissioner of Forest to advise him to push Western Province Executive to hold the extra sitting to approve the determination.
He said the Commissioner of Forest did not realized that there was a first Timber Rights Hearing held already which allowed Bulacan and two subcontractors Rima and Sunware to operate under the license.
However, he said Burwood Limited did not want to use the license of Bulacan.
Therefore, Tamana said he gave $84,000 to Western Province Executive to hold the special sitting to approve the certificate of determination.
He said after the meeting, the Commissioner of Forest asked him who authorisied the special meeting of Western Province.
âThe Commissioner of Forest advised me to start the process again by issuing Form 1,â he said.
Tamana said he paid another $64,000 to Western Province Executive to hold the Timber Rights hearing.
âHow can I do another Timber Rights Hearing when it involved the same trustees? he asked.
Island Sun understand Savubo Tribal Community Trust Board (incorporated) and its members under a new leadership have taken Tamana to court to justify his claims and the allegations.