A fake gazetted document has been used by loggers in Isabel Province to illegally harvest the protected species, Tubi.

The fake gazette bears the name of the former Minister for Environment Dr. Culvick Togamana.

Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Forestry and Research Dr. Vaeno Vigulu confirmed this to SIBC News.

Dr. Vigulu said he was shocked to see the fake gazetted document in his recent visit to Isabel Province.

“In my recent tour to Isabel Province, my team was surprised to have cited a fake gazette that allows loggers to harvest Tubi in San Jorge Island. The Gazette Bears the name and signature of the former Minister for Environment, Dr. Culvick Togamana.”

Dr. Vigulu added, he has personally spoken to Dr. Togamana who denied authorizing the illegal harvesting.

“There are people who have been using that fake regulation which I have a copy now, and it does not come out from the office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet’s gazette, rather, its something that someone forged for convenience use to illegally harvest the protected species in San Jorge Island.”

He added the document has been used to illegally fell the Tubi consignment currently seized at Noro Port, Western Province.

“The Prime Minister’s office is going to seize that Tubi consignment, as there has been no approval for that illegal harvesting from the responsible ministries. They have requested me to make a summary of that illegally felled consignment.”

He said, currently, the forestry regulation only allows companies that have mining leases on Nickle Tenements like San Jorge to harvest Tubi. 

“You have to clear off the forest before actual mining can take place, and that’s a special exemption.”

The consignment seized at Noro was believed to be harvested from Rarade Concession Area in Isabel Province and was currently stored at the Sumlimsun Company area at Noro.

Meanwhile, Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Environment Melchior Mataki said, most of the Tubi harvesting done in the country was done illegally and the government is working to ensure those responsible are held accountable.

“That Tubi Consignment at Noro has been brought to the attention of relevant authority, including the Customs and now before the Attorney General’s office.”

Numerous attempts made by SIBC News to get more information from the Sumlimsun office were not successful.

“I won’t talk about that, as we have settled the matter with the Solomon Islands Customs office”, an Asian logger on site said.

SIBC News is aware that Sunrise Investment Limited is currently harvesting Tubi at San Jorge Island while Solo Investment Limited is felling Tubi at Lelegia, Isabel mainland.

This week, Island Sun Newspaper reported, more than 10,000 cubic meters of Tubi was illegally harvested and stocked up in Isabel Province awaiting shipment.

The Attorney General’s Office and Solomon Islands Customs are yet to make a formal statement in relation to the ceased consignment. 

Tubi was only found in Choiseul and Isabel Provinces and a protected species under the country’s Wildlife Protection and Management Act.

by Charley Piringi

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