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Loggers’ export permit withheld because of $30k outstanding fee as Forestry rebuffs media report

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The office of the Ministry of Forestry and Research has acted accordingly on the lawful procedures guided by the Forest Resources and Timber Utilization Act (FRTUA) and no ‘higher authority’ influenced our due diligence checks.

This is in response to opposition leader Matthew Wale’s call for the Forestry office to explain the reasons behind an alleged illegal shipment in the media on the 12th of July 2023.

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In an issued statement the Forestry Office explains that the matter raised is a non-issue to be raised on public platforms.

“It is an administrative issue to which the company and licensee concern are obliged to meet, that is an outstanding ‘anniversary fee’”.

“This anniversary fee is an annual fee, and all active felling licenses obtained under the FRTU Act must pay-up their dues,” clarifies the statement.

The statement explains that in the case of Cape West Enterprise Limited and its contractor, they have outstanding debt anniversary fee of 30k and not 50k as reported that should be settle prior to their application to export round logs.

Whilst they are yet to settle their outstanding anniversary fee, their export permit application or the Ministry’s recommendation to CBSI for the approval of Market Price Certificate was withheld.

Not until when they did settle their outstanding 30k debt, they are being given approval for their export permit; that is the crux of the issue and not as reported in the media, the forestry office says in the statement.

“There is nothing fishy and no-one at all of ‘high authority’ influencing the legal procedures involve in this case, instead it is a misconception that has misled the public at large. What was proper for media reporters and the opposition leader to do, was to get their facts right by checking with the appropriate heads within the Forestry Office which no attempt at all was done, instead they jump the barrel by barking a non-issue in the public arena.

“Whilst the Forestry Office acknowledges the watchdog role played in this manner, such continuing trend to inform the public with half-cooked information is not welcomed.” – MoFR Press

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