Logging company owned by government MP fined $150k
Fairtrade Limited, a logging company owned by government MP, Chachabule Amoi, is one of two companies fined for forestry offences.
The ministry of forest (MOFR) on April 13 this year imposed a penalty of $150,000 to Fairtrade company and Agro LBS Limited for committing a forest offence under section 4 of the Forest Resources and Timber Utilisation Act.
This penalty was imposed as a condition for Fairtrade to fulfill in order to be given an export permit by MOFR to export round logs felled and extracted in Putuo island, Isabel province, by Agro LBS.
The penalty was paid the next day, April 14, 2021.
However, the amount on the MOFR receipt is $160,000. It is unclear why the extra $10,000. MOFR has not responded to enquiries.
Last week, Island Sun reported on landowners complaining about illegal logging on their land by the two companies, Fairtrade and Agro LBS.
A case is before the court against the two companies.
Allegations say the two companies had felled round logs in Putuo island using only a Milling licence.
[Milling licence does not empower the holder to fell trees]
Isabel provincial government last year ordered a halt to operations after noting discrepancies.
However, on April 8, 2021, Fairtrade wrote to MOFR expressing interest to export the round log pile on Putuo.
April 13, MOFR granted Fairtrade with an export permit, provided that it fulfilled three conditions, one of which was to pay the $150,000 penalty.
The ministry of forestry has not responded to enquiries sent regarding the issue.
Comments are being sought from Marovo MP, Chachabule Amoi, and owner of Agro LBS, Mr Lemuel Beti Siosi.