20 Apr 2005

Auditor says Solomon Islands logging companies have not paid thousands in royalties

4:11 pm on 20 April 2005

The Solomon Islands Government has lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in logging royalties and the Audit Office says the police should be called in.

A report from the Auditor General says many logging companies have blatantly avoided royalty payments costing the country more than half a million US dollars.

The Solomon Star reports that the Office also lists other serious breaches when logging licences and exemptions were given by the Department of Forests.

It says timber royalties are not being properly accounted for, resulting in the revenue not being collected when it is due.

The report highlights a long history of logging companies not paying as stipulated in logging agreements.

And the Audit Office says police should investigate the irregularities and says remissions on customs duty must also be scrutinised.

It says one company, which it does not name, has seriously breached the conditions of its duty remissions.