30 Apr 2004

Solomons to probe missing logging funds

3:42 pm on 30 April 2004

Solomon Islands' forestry officials have been asked to investigate all forest development contracts amid reports that the Government has missed out on millions of dollars of forestry revenue.

Officials of the Regional Assistance Mission, or Ramsi, and the Royal Solomon Islands Police are reported to be investigating how six million Solomon Islands dollars failed to reach government coffers.

The money was to have been paid by Sylvania Forest products Limited under a log-export deal, but the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation says the Government's 10 percent share has not shown up in the Consolidated account.

It says Ramsi and the Police are investigating, which they have been unable to confirm.

But Kennedy Hoda, the Solomon Islands' Forestry Commissioner, says although he cannot comment on the amount of any missing funds, he has asked for reports from officials.

"I have asked the department to make an assessment or an investigation on all the development contracts affecting all forest estate areas in this country. That means all the Government lands, whether plantation forests established by the department or natural forests on all government land. All development contracts that are currently on those areas must be reviewed and investigated for government interests."

Kennedy Hoda, the Forestry Commissioner.