Home > Corruption, Human rights, Land, Logging, oil palm, Papua New Guinea > PNGFA and logging company lawyers conspiring to ignore court orders?

PNGFA and logging company lawyers conspiring to ignore court orders?

October 11, 2016 Leave a comment Go to comments

pngfa-letter-turubu

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:

turubu-logging

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!!!

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