Politicians and the logging industry at the centre of organised crime: ANU

October 18, 2016 1 comment

illegal-logging-log-pileOrganised crime in Pacific involves political elites: Report

BY: Cedric Patjole on PNG Loop

A recently published discussion paper by the Australian National University (ANU) argues that the most significant organised crime in the Pacific involves the connection between political elites and illicit actors.

The discussion paper featured in the Development Policy Blog states that the social and economic disruption caused by this relationship is more serious than other types of organised crime.

“This means organised crime in the Pacific is less about tatts, drugs and gangs, and more about networks of politicians, business elites and assorted intermediaries,” states the report.

Authors, Sinclair Dinnen and Grant Walton from the ANU argue that the most visible of this connection is in the logging sector in PNG and the Solomon Islands.

They claim both countries have a long history of illegal logging facilitated by an alliance between Asian logging companies and local political actors.

“This collusion has resulted in “the blurring of legal and illegal trade in relation to formal export-oriented log production.”

“Estimated net exports of illegal timber from both countries in 2010 were US$800 million; transfer pricing in the sector has been said to cost PNG alone US$100 million per year,” the authors said.

The paper states that law enforcement is weak due to systematic issues of governance and institutional capabilities and is vulnerable to organized crime as well as immunity to corrupt local actors.

It further says few of these agencies are equipped to deal with the complex and increasingly transnational character of organised crime.

“Despite some success, cooperation against organised criminal activities, particularly those with political dimensions, has largely failed to live up to the lofty sentiments of various regional agreements.”

The authors say policy makers will need to unravel the elite transnational networks which have been enabled and strengthened by economic globalisation.

This means focusing on transnational businesses elites, politicians, government officials and intermediaries.

O’Neill’s illegal logging: 1211 days and counting…

October 17, 2016 Leave a comment


Peter O'Neill: Theft of forest resources: Guilty

sabl cartoon

Run Fu 2 allowed to leave for China with cargo of illegal timber

October 17, 2016 1 comment


The Panama registered bulk carrier, Run Fu 2 has been allowed to sail from Wewak with a cargo of illegally felled timber from the Turubu SABL. The ship is currently sailing towards China with its illegal cargo.

The ship was allowed to leave PNG despite Customs, Police, PNG Forest Authority and SGS all being aware the logs it was loading have been declared illegal by both the National and Supreme Courts.

The Supreme Court decision on 31 August, confirmed an earlier 2014, National Court decision, that the SABL lease over Portion 144C is null and void and all logging and oil palm operations are illegal. But despite the court decisions, the logging is still continuing right under the nose of the PNG authorities and yet another ship has now arrived and is loading logs. In total more logs worth more than $50 million have been exported from the illegal Turubu SABL area.

As we revealed last week, the PNG Forest Authority has seemingly decided it will ignore the court rulings – but surely SGS, the police and PNG Customs can’t all be on on the conspiracy? We now wait to see if they will allow the next ship to leave PNG waters with its illegal cargo!

PNGFA and logging company lawyers conspiring to ignore court orders?

October 11, 2016 1 comment


The PNG Forest Authority and lawyers representing foreign companies involved in logging operations in the Turubu area of the Sepik have apparently decided they can ignore National and Supreme Court orders.

In the above letter, dated 5 September 2016, the Acting Managing Director of the Forest Authority, Goodwill Amos references a meeting in which lawyers, loggers and the PNGFA “established and agreed” a Court decision “to nullify the the SABL over Portion 144C does not affect in anyway the FCA [Forest Clearance Authority] and related activities”.

This directly contradicts the orders of both the National and Supreme Courts.

On 4 July 2014, Justice Gavara-Nanu in the National Court declared the SABL over Portion 144C (Turubu) null and void and ordered:

“Any other related actions or projects undertaken or done either pursuant to or in relation to the SABL, such as logging agreements and or planting of oil palm in the SABL area are also declared illegal and null and void”.

On 31 August 2016, a three Judge bench of the Supreme Court confirmed the decision of the National Court:

the decision of his Honour Gavara-Nanu is confirmed as are the findings
and orders he has made

The lawyers representing the loggers, Wewak Agriculture Development Limited and Sepik Oil Palm Plantation Limited, in the Supreme Court were Kuman Lawyers. The very same lawyers, the Acting MD says he met with two days after the Supreme Court decision, on 2 September, when it was decided they could all  IGNORE the court order and allow logging to continue.

What makes the PNGFA position even more untenable is that they have been on notice since 2015 that at least one third of the logging under the FCA is occurring outside the SABL boundary – as exposed in satellite analysis published by Global Witness:


Global Witness also reports that the value of the timber taken from the Turubu SABL area is in excess of $50 million.

To add further insult, Goodwill Amos ends his letter by advising the lawyers they should draft a petition to be signed by landowners aggrieved by the decisions of the National and Supreme Courts that should then be handed to government agencies, presumably to pressure the said agencies not to intervene against the illegal SABL and associated activities.

This is the man supposedly in charge of ensuring the responsible, sustainable and LEGAL use of our forests advising lawyers for logging companies how to organise their clients to get government agencies to ignore the law!!!

O’Neill’s illegal logging: 1204 days and counting…

October 10, 2016 Leave a comment


Prime Minister Peter O’Neill still refuses to do anything to reverse the huge SABL land grab or stop the illegal logging.

So much for all his promises to revoke the unlawful leases and return the land to customary landholders!

It is now 1,204 days since the reports of the SABL Commission Inquiry which detail the widespread fraud and mismanagement that has allowed foreign logging companies to gain illegal access to over 5 million hectares of land.

Since June 2013, more than three years ago, O’Neill has REPEATEDLY promised us the leases will be canceled and illegal logging stopped.

In September 2013 O’Neill said in Parliament:

“We will no longer watch on as foreign owned companies come in and con our landowners, chop down our forests and then take the proceeds offshore”

In June 2014, announcing an NEC decision supposedly cancelling the leases, O’Neill said

“We are taking these steps to reclaim our customary land illegally lost to foreigners with the help of corrupt public servants and leaders”

“As a responsible government we want to ensure that all citizens have access to the lands of their ancestors. We will not allow our land to be lost to unscrupulous people out to con our people” 

In 2015 the Chief Secretary stated:

“It is widely known that vast amounts of pristine forest have been logged to enrich a corrupt few people, while landowners have unknowingly lost their most valuable asset – their land”.

But, despite all the promises, no action has been taken to cancel the leases, landowners are receiving no support from the government in their battles against the land grabbing and WE ARE STILL WAITING for the logging to be stopped.

For 1,204 days O’Neill has failed to ensure the SABL leases are revoked and has been complicit in the illegal logging of our forests by foreign logging companies.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has aided and abetted the theft of logs worth hundreds of million of kina and the destruction of thousands of hectares of pristine forest.

Peter O'Neill: Theft of forest resources: Guilty

O’Neill’s illegal logging: 1197 days and counting…

October 3, 2016 Leave a comment


Peter O'Neill: Theft of forest resources: Guilty

sabl cartoon

Run Fu 2 about to run to Shanghai with a cargo of illegal timber

September 29, 2016 1 comment


The Panama registered bulk carrier, Run Fu 2 is currently loading illegally felled timber from the Turubu SABL in East Sepik and is ready to run to Shanghai with its illegal cargo.

On 31 August, the Supreme Court declared the SABL over Portion 144C null and void and said all logging and oil palm operations are illegal.

But the logging is still continuing right under the nose of the PNG Forestry Authority and on 6 September the Run Fu 2 arrived and started loading logs.

Will the Forest Authority, SGS and PNG Customs allow the Run Fu 2 to leave PNG waters with its illegal cargo?

And if the ship does leave, will the police investigate all those involved in facilitating this theft of valuable timber?