Rimbunan Hijau ignoring court order to stop logging operations
Controversial Malaysian logging company, Rimbunan Hijau, has failed to abide by a court order to stop all logging operations in two lease areas in the Pomio district of East New Britain.
The court order (see below) was issued on November 14 after an application by landowners from Portions 196C and 197C. The landowners say the Special Agriculture and Business Leases being used by RH subsidiary, Gilford Limited, were obtained by fraud and forgery and without following the proper processes under the Lands Act.
According to reports from the landowners, RH/Gilford has not stopped logging and other forest harvesting operations. This is in direct contravention of the court order which prevents any logging or associated activities in Portions 196C or 197C or anything else in reliance on the logging permit.
Rimbunan Hijau has already cleared at least 7,000 hectares of forest in the Pomio area and exported more than 500,000 cubic metres of timber with a declared value of over $50 million.
In October, the National Forest Board renewed the logging permit for the Pomio SABLs despite widespread opposition from local landowners.
The restraining orders against RH were issued by Justice Batari in a court hearing in Kimbe. The matter will return to court in December for further legal arguments.