A consulting firm ITS Global has defended Malaysian logging company Rimbunan Hijau's operations in Papua New Guinea as being in full compliance with the law.
RH, which is the largest logging company in PNG, has long been accused of colluding with PNG political leaders to illegally harvest rainforest timber to the detriment of local landowners.
The company recently commissioned ITS to investigate ongoing accusations against it by Green groups.
The ensuing ITS Global report was launched by PNG's Forestry Minister Patrick Pruaitch last Friday.
ITS consultant, Bill Bowen, has dismissed reports by the international NGOs that PNG's forests are being pillaged illegally.
"The argument that there may have been some relatively minor elements of some quite complex legislation that may not have been fully complied with and that therefore that constitutes by definition illegality is a rather odd proposition. PNG's a developing country. It has complex rules governing forestry but when you go through them all, you find overwhelmingly, Rimbunan Hijau has complied with PNG's laws."
Bill Bowen says PNG should not be discouraged from fully utilising its resources for development.