SFA allegedly backed Gov’t to defeat vote

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By EDDIE OSIFELO

SOLOMON Forest Association is alleged to have backed the Government to defeat the no-confidence vote tabled against Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare last month.

Thirty-two members of DCGA voted against the motion with 15 supporting and two abstaining on the floor of Parliament.

Opposition Leader Mathew Wale filed the motion against Sogavare, accusing him of multiple corruption by using money from foreign loggers and China to secure his support in the house.

A reliable source told Island Sun the agenda to discuss the support for Sogavare during the vote came about after SFA Secretary Philip Tiew called all members to a meeting on Friday, 19 November 2021.

According to the email sent by Tiew to all SFA members, he said the agenda of the meeting included the discussion of the new Determine Value Schedule for fourth Quarter of Year 2021 proposed by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance and Treasury.

Tiew said because of the importance of the meeting, their President requested that only the owners, managing directors/directors and or senior executives are invited to attend.

“Your strong and rapport supports to SFA is much appreciated. Look forward to your participation in the meeting,” he said.

However, the source said SFA called the meeting as an excuse to raise funds to bribe ministers to support Sogavare in the anticipated vote of no confidence.

The source claimed small logging companies have contributed around $30,000 and big companies donated between $100,000 to $200,000.

But SFA President, Johnny Sy said he believed during those days nobody knows what’s going on, what they only knew is there will be Parliament seating that’s all.

Sy confirmed SFA did call a meeting to inform their members about the outcome of their meeting with the Permanent Secretary of Finance, which he don’t deny it, cause Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Forest always have consultations with the industries and member’s need to know the outcome.

“Maybe your reliable source didn’t understand when I ask them if they like to donate some more funds as their personal support for the Kukum Hospital equipment cause SFA can only fund the full hospital building but not including equipment because SFA funds are insufficient for Kukum Hospital that we are building for the people of Solomon Islands.

“During that meeting we also planned our ground-breaking before I left Honiara for my annual leave; unfortunately the riot happen before the planned ground breaking so we decided to postpone and will need to consult our members if we will still proceed on our plan to build and donate to SIG,” he said.

Sy said he was out of the country since December 3 so “how can I involve in the motion of no confidence?”

The SFA meeting took place before protestors turned violent and looted and burnt buildings at Chinatown, Kukum and Ranadi following an anti-government protest from November 24-26.

There are currently 74 logging companies that are members of SFA.


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