Suri and APID logging on Rennell


I FIND it very irritating that a prominent private lawyer like Gabriel Suri, who was at one stage the Attorney General of Solomon Islands, could go down that low to defend APID’s illegal logging on Rennell instead of advising his client to recant and abide by the law of this country.
For public information, APID, which fraudulently registered West Rennell for bauxite mining, uses the same registration to enter into logging without a felling license.
It appals me that despite APID logging operation is a clear breached of the Forestry Act that a person like Suri knows this better, APID directors, agents and servants escape arrest or being charged for Forest offence except the Commissioner of Forests issued a seizure that has never been effectively executed by his office.
The seizure logs and machineries (no machines were seized as they moved around freely in Rennell causing destruction to other people’s lands) landed APID, Mugaba Timber and the Attorney General for Commissioner of Forest in the Magistrate Court over their disputes of the right to sell the seized properties (see Magistrate CC 273/291 of 2015 for details).
The Magistrate Court came out in favour of the Commissioner of Forest although the court recognises that the only valid felling licence in the area where the disputed logs came from belongs to Mugaba Atoll Resources Company, a rival of Mugaba Timber Company that APID surrendered the logs to them.
Instead of surrendering to the Magistrate ruling that supposed to protect the government losing money to compensate landowners of areas the logs were illegally felled under “waste log” and land APID in limbo by losing the logs they felled illegally, Suri uses his legal skills to protect APID’s illegal logging operations by appealing the ruling that results in the High Court CC No.187 of 2016.
My readers need to know that I have all the evidence under my disposal to prove that APID fraudulently registered West Rennell logging operation in Ward Six (6) of Renbel Province, breaching the Forestry Act; although I have yet to test them in court.
However, I’m prepared to go to court if APID and Mugaba Timber Company managements think that I’m making false charges against them and destroy their mining and logging credibility.
On APID’s illegal logging however; more than 30,000 cubic meters of our Tokegau-Taupii Tribe and Niteni Tribe logs were wasted at Naone log pond and more than 20,000 cubic meters are still in the deep forest in a concession from the Ministry of Forestry paper work belongs to Mugaba Atoll Resources Company (MARC).
In fact Mugaba Atoll Resources Company was the first to conduct a timber right hearing (TRH) in Ward 6 that covers Naone where APID log pond was built and the areas where APID and Supreme Resources logging machineries and equipment are stored.
Sadly, APID and its agents and servants and the Commissioner of Forest never explain why Mugaba Atoll Resources Company management has never been informed or consulted when they discuss APID trespassing and encroachinglogging activities in Mugaba Atoll Resources Company legal concession.
As I’m writing, one thing that bothers me much is why learnedand ethical people like Gabriel Suri, the defence lawyer of APID and Mugaba Timber Company and Reeves Moveni, the Commissioner of Forest, find it hard to admit publicly or in court that the areas APID and Mugaba Timber harvested logs from belong to Mugaba Atoll Resources Company felling license number A101182 as per se in the Ministry of Forestry documents.
Suri might wonder why I was so concerned about APID and Mugaba Timber Company illegal logging.
Yes, I am concerned because I’m one of the customary land owners of where APID illegally harvested logs from and my CLAC appeal of Mugihenua Investment Company Timber Right that also covers some of those areas is still pending in court for trial; yet APID under Mugaba Timber Company went wild in destroying the area.
Also I’m an eye witness of the areas illegally harvested by APID for about six months working as a personal officer of Oceanic Trading Company (OTC) that was contracted by Mugaba Atoll Resources Company to operate in Tekungagoto Customary Land that includes Naone.
Be informed that my employment with OTC naturally came to an end when I saw the havoc caused by logging on our forest and environment and the destruction caused to our customary land.
In other words, I finished from OTC because I have achieved my goal of going to Rennell—to be an eye witness of the destruction caused by logging and mining on our customary land that companies like APID and Samlimsan all along denied in court and the media.
So being a land owner that was denied by a foreigner like Ray Chu who owns nothing in Rennell except using our resources and Solomon Maui and his family to enter my family and tribe’s customary land hurts so much, especially when I see these people keep stealing, damaging and destroying our meagre resources and enjoying the benefits of our resources without consent.
Further, I’m concerned that the 50,000 cubic meter plus worth of logs estimated to give the government $25,000,000 and the landowners $15,000,000 from the 60-25-15% shares were lost for breached of the Forestry Act by APID; yet without any of those involved in the fraud being arrested or charged.
Furthermore, I’m concerned that the country and the locals lost that much money through fraud and senior citizens like Gabriel Suri all along defending APID and Mugaba Timber Company’s activities instead of counselling his clients to abide by the Forestry Act and respect the laws of this country and people of the areas where they illegally entered into and destroyed.
From recent report (yet to be verified) the controversial logs hewn illegally by APID that I estimate to be around 50,000 cubic meters worth had been drastically reduced to 8,000cubic metersand logs were surrendered to APID to sell them.
If this is true why APID was permitted to export the logswhen its appeal of the Magistrate Court ruling is yet to be fully tried in the High Court?
And if the logs are to be sold by APID, whose felling licence are they going to use because Mugaba Timber Company felling licence that APID surrendered the stolen logs to, was also cancelled?
Common sense tells that the right thing for APID and the Commissioner of Forest to do in order to legalise the sale of the logs is to surrender the illegally harvested logs to Mugaba Atoll Resources Company to sell them because the logs were harvested in MARC legal concession.
This news for APID to sell the logs shocks me as one interest in the proceeds of the logs if sold because some of the logs felled illegally by APID were extracted from the areas that my CLAC case against Mugihenua Investment Company Limited is still pending in court and I heard rumours that APID made arrangement with Norman Sa’oghatogha of Mughihenua Investment Company, the respondent of my CLAC case as their entry point; a move that is just as wrong as their logging.
Whilst this may not be too late, the right thingCommissioner of Forest should do in the first place is order the arrest of APID and Mugaba Timber Company directors, agents and servants and charge them for forest offences and allow them to appeal their illegal logging operation that they did without a felling license; but not given the right to sell the seized logs.