31 Oct 2013

Solomon Islands forestry ministry silent on Vanikoro logging

2:36 pm on 31 October 2013

The Solomon Islands Ministry of Forestry has declined to comment on whether it has given permission for a Malaysian logging company to set up in Temotu province.

The premier of the province, Father Charles Brown Beu, says the Malaysian company offered him a bribe of 3,000 Solomon Islands dollars and a letter from the ministry giving it permission to log at Vanikoro.

Father Brown Beu says he does not think the letter was written by the ministry, as there was no official stamp.

But he says workers and equipment have since landed at Vanikoro.

He says he has not been informed by the government that the logging company is going to operate in Vanikoro, and the normal procedures of timber rights hearings have not been carried out.

He says he fears for what lies ahead for his country if the government is secretly backing the Malaysian company.