3 Nov 2008

Giant logging company in PNG rejects claims it acted illegally

7:31 pm on 3 November 2008

The Papua New Guinea lawyer for Malaysian logging giant Rimbunan Hijau has denied that the company was illegally allocated a concession by the PNG Forest Authority.

Last week, PNG's Supreme Court ruled that an order sought by the company to make authorities grant it a logging extension for the vast forest area in Western Province was improperly allocated.

The PNG Eco-Forestry Forum, which launched the challenge against the order, claims Rimbunan Hijau misled the court system in the process.

But Rimbunan Hijau's lawyer Geoff Shepard says this outcome merely confirms that there was a procedural mistake over allowing any other interested parties to partake in the decision over concession approval.

"The matter's not finished by any means yet. All that's happened, as far as we're concerned, is that the ruling of the Supreme Court requires that the matter go back for a full re-hearing with the opportunity to be given to any interested party or interested group that can show that they have some genuine interest in being heard, being given the opportunity to come before the court."

Geoff Shepard