26 Sep 2008

Fiji anti-corruption commission investigating sandalwood scams

10:09 am on 26 September 2008

The Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption is investigating claims being made against several logging companies who are harvesting sandalwood forests in the country.

The Fijilive website reports that several landowners have claimed that some companies are now logging sandalwood forests where they have not been licensed to do so.

They are said to harvest the trees, and then move the logs into other areas where their activities are licensed.

It quotes a case where a foreign company trading out of Suva and Labasa allegedly logged sandalwood out of the Western part of the Nausori Highlands and then moved it to another area they are allowed to log.

The logs were then taken to the Forestry Office in Nausori where a directive by the Western Forestry Office was given not to release the logs.

The logs were later released without permission.

Assistant divisional forestry officer Kaminieli Namua told Fijilive that an investigation into the matter was under way but declined to comment further.