Home > Corruption, Human rights, Land, Logging, Papua New Guinea > Peter O’Neill aiding and abetting the theft of valuable forest resources

Peter O’Neill aiding and abetting the theft of valuable forest resources

peter-o-neill

In a criminal conspiracy of grand proportions the Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, is aiding and abetting the theft of valuable forest resources from customary landowners by Malaysian logging companies.

The value of the logs being stolen every month is more than K14 million, but while common criminals and shoplifters are quickly arrested and beaten by the police, the Royal PNG Constabulary and the corruption watchdog Task Force Sweep are standing by and watching a far far more serious crime.

The SABL Commission of Inquiry found the leases given to logging companies are unlawful and therefore their logging operations are illegal. The Commissioners said of the logging companies:

“They mislead and deceive landowners with the assistance of corrupt government officials”

But Peter O’Neill has failed to take any action to stop the illegal logging or cancel the fraudulent leases. As a result logs worth millions of kina are being stolen and shipped overseas every month.

In the 12 months to October 2013 the value of the logs stolen from SABL areas and shipped overseas, according to SGS and the PNG Forest Authority, was over K170 million kina.

That is K170 million stolen in just one year – and it is still on-going!

That is just the value of the raw logs. It takes no account of the environmental destruction caused by the logging operation, the loss of gardens and wildlife or the eventual value of the timber once sawn.

The Prime Minister was given the Commission of Inquiry reports on 24 June last year (2013) but for 10 long months he has done nothing but offer empty promises.

In September the Prime Minister presented the reports in Parliament and said they revealed:

“a shocking trend of mismanagement and corruption”

He went on to say:

“Mr Speaker, this government is going to start protecting landowners and the environment. 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”

This was 8 months ago, since then Peter O’Neill has done NOTHING!

On November 5 last year, Mr O’Neill went on radio and said he had appointed a Ministerial Committee to review the CoI recommendations and report back within 2 months.

But nothing has happened and the illegal logging is still continuing.

PNG’s Criminal Code makes very clear that it is an offence to aid the commission of any crime and that those who are accessories, who allow a crime to continue or assist in any way, are just as guilty as the primary offenders.

How much longer are we going to sit back and watch the Prime Minister and his political cronies stealing our valuable forest resources…?

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