Locals want Asian loggers probed

Momase, Normal

The National, Thursday 02nd Febuary 2012

THE Mabey parish of Umboi Island, Tewae-Siassi district, Morobe, is urging the Environment and Conservation and the Forest departments to conduct an immediate investigation into the operations of a logging company in the area.
It is alleged the Asian-owned company, Everwell, has been violating some of the logging
and marketing agreement (LMA) set in
place by the authorities and landowners.
Under the agreement, there are clauses on log specifications, including locations where the logs should be felled.
However, the company is allegedly harvesting premature timber, re-cutting in the same area, diverting streams and creeks from their natural course and causing destruction to untouched land.
Local Moses Wanga, on behalf of the Maralei and Kabi communities, said the company had not undertaken proper liaison and consultation with the landowner management company, Umboi Timber Investment (UTI), in providing basic community services.
“Over the years, the landowners and communities of Maralei and Kabi received nothing from timber levy fees and premiums that were paid through the UTI management and they (UTI) are answerable to the landowners and people of Block 3 area,” Wanga said.
UTI management chairman Sam Nalong said he lived in Lae and only travelled to the area to chair board meetings.
“I have no knowledge and involvement with the management company because I act as the only board chairman, living in town, travel there (Siassi) to chair board meetings and know about board allowance,” Nalong said.
He said he would call the UTI management and verify the allegations.