Geruana Trust calls for Minister’s action


The GERUANA Tribe Trust Board Association (GTTBA) has called on Minister of Forest and Research, Dickson Mua, to suspend his Permanent Secretary, Dr Vaeno Vigulu, due to allegations of a conflict of interest.

This request comes after the Commissioner of Forest, Reeves Moveni, suspended the Felling License No. A102303 of the contractor, Sunway (SI) Limited, from conducting logging operations on GTTBA’s registered land in Vangunu, Western Province.

In their letter to Minister Mua, GTTBA claimed that Dr. Vigulu, who is also recognized as the enthroned chief by the Marovo Councils of Chiefs, has a personal interest in the logging operation and is pursuing a personal vendetta against them.

They allege that Dr. Vigulu is using the customary land issue as a means to disrupt their logging operations on the registered land.

GTTBA also stated that Dr. Vigulu and his brother Plinty took them and the Commissioner of Forest to the High Court in Civil Case No.162 of 2023 regarding the logging operation on the land.

They questioned the fairness of the Commissioner’s decision to issue the suspension notice and raised concerns about potential undue pressure from Dr. Vigulu, who is the Claimant in the ongoing court case.

Additionally, GTTBA questioned why the Commissioner of Forest addressed the suspension notice to Dr. Vigulu instead of the Forestry officer at Seghe.

They claimed that the report received by the Commissioner, which led to the suspension notice, was not true according to a report produced by Senior Forester Mudi of Seghe.

GTTBA argued that the company, Sunway (SI) Limited, did not commit any serious forestry offenses.

They stated that no logs were harvested from Geruana customary land, and the area referred to as Block C, where harvesting took place, belongs to them and shares a common boundary with their land.

GTTBA also mentioned that they had given consent to the company to access the licensed concession area through their land and to set up the logging camp on their land.

GTTBA expressed their belief that both Dr. Vigulu and the Commissioner of Forest should be suspended.

They claimed that the Commissioner did not base the suspension on a substantial report but only on a complaint from the Vigulu brothers.

They accused the Commissioner of being in a position of conflict of interest and incapable of making independent decisions.

GTTBA referred to Minister Mua’s statement in the Island Sun newspaper on Tuesday this week, where he acknowledged issues within the ministry involving officers with vested interests.

They requested that Minister Mua address the issue of vested interests within his ministry, specifically regarding the Permanent Secretary.

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