TRANSPARENCY Solomon Islands (TSI) is appalled to see one of the ministers of the crown telling lies in the media by denying his decision to give Sunrise Investment Ltd the right to sell logs, which the company illegally harvest.
The Minister for Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management & Meteorology Mr. Titus Fika goes out public in the Island Sund news yesterday to say it is a false news that he gave directives for the Malaysian company to pursue selling the tubi logs. But according to hard evidences provided before the media, it shows his letter to the Comptroller of Customs informing Customs and Excise Division that a permit was issued by director of environment to allow Sunrise Investment Ltd to sell the tubi logs. The letter was copied to the Attorney General as well. The letter was signed by Mr. Fika with his name on it and not the former minister (Dickson Mua). Transparency Solomon Islands may have no issue with the ongoing conflict over those tubi logs but the fact that the Minister of Environment is telling lies to the public is not only demeaning to him but a big corruption-risk to this country to put such people in power. Mr. Fika and his likes must be condemned for being dishonest and removed from their position as minister the sooner the better. This does not reflect well of someone who serve his first term in parliament. The minister claimed he is fighting corruption but he is doing a different thing. His denial of the black and white letter he signed and copied to various government ministries only shows the type of leader he is.
Transparency Solomon Islands called on the Democratic Coalition Government for Advancement (DCGA) to remove Mr. Fika as the minister for environment. Citizens no longer have trust in such leaders who speak one thing but did the opposite. When a leader elected by the people come out public to tell lies to the people is an indication that such person will continue to tell lies to the people even to the extent that he became a public ridicule. TSI strongly condemned elected leaders who tell lies and in this case the Minister of Environment must go or else he remains and do more damage to this nation. The minister is caught red handed and he should not make any more attempt to cover up his lies that will only makes him a public mockery. TSI also wants to cautioned other Members of Parliament (MPs) to be careful of what they speak in the media or they will be held responsible for the false information coming out of their mouth.
Transparency Solomon Islands is concern that the seized tubi logs was not put on tender or let the resource owners to sell but instead given to the same convicted company found guilty by the court and pay the find of $50,000. The decision by the minister is an evidence that corruption is alive in his ministry and the logging industry. The company was found guilty and ordered by court to pay a fine of $50,000 is now being rewarded with the tubi logs it illegally harvest to sell on behalf of the government. This is not right and goes to show how those in powers and their likes in public offices are denying this country, resource owners and the government the maximum benefits deserved from the tubi logs. At whose interest the Minister made the decision? The decision to give back the tubi logs to Sunrise Investment Ltd raise more questions on the integrity of the minister and the executive government. The decision is a clear self-serving act by someone in power to serve his personal interest and that of his cronies.
Government must recognize the landowners and put their interest first than that of foreign logging companies and their cronies. The tubi trees belongs to the landowners and were harvested on their land without their consent, so those logs should be a matter for the government and landowners to negotiate with any buyer. But not the convicted Malaysian company to sell the logs. According to information revealed it shows that Sunrise Investment Ltd will take 60% of the tubi logs if they proceed with the selling while landowners 15% and government 25%. Thus, it means the company that was convicted and pay the fine of $50,000 will get more than what they have penalized for by reaping more benefits in the selling of the tubi logs. Transparency Solomon Islands see all this mess on the illegal harvest of tubi and re-awarding of the logs to the offender as a serious case of corruption that involves the minister of environment, public servant (director of environment) and a logging company. TSI reiterated that the minister must be removed and director of environment who gave the permit to the company be suspended and investigated.