22 Jun 2015

Solomons watchdog calls for removal of Forestry Minister

6:47 am on 22 June 2015

A Solomon Islands corruption watchdog wants the Forestry Minister Bodo Dettke removed after allegations he granted exemptions to a family-owned logging company.

Bodo Dettke

Bodo Dettke Photo: RNZI Koroi Hawkins

Transparency Solomon Islands says Mr Dettke granted an Agro Forestry Exemption in April to Solomon Resources Management Ltd for land on Mono in the Shortland Islands.

The exemption allows the company to clear the land for use as coconut and betelnut plantations effectively bypassing the need for a logging licence.

A TSI official Edward Ronia, says Mr Dettke had been the company's Director since 1996 and only sold the shares to his sister in January this year.

Mr Ronia says this is what TSI has feared since Mr Dettke's appointment as Forestry Minister in December last year.

"It is a serious area and the government should heed, I mean because we are close to the people we know the people we understand the situation. And when we raise issues like that and it is ignored and in the end the results show what we are concerned about we think the government should be giving a more listening ear to people who know what is happening on the ground."

Transparency Solomon Islands' Edward Ronia.