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No fine issued over illegal round log seizure

By Douglas Marau HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Jan. 15, 2010) - THE Solomon Islands government has taken no action against an Asian logging company caught trying to secretly export seven containers of logs last week.

Instead, Chung Sol was only given a warning.

The company was contracted by Kolosori Land Resources Development from Isabel to harvest its tubi trees.

Under the company’s licence, they can only export sawn timbers, not round logs.

But last week, Customs and Excise officials seized seven containers of the highly priced tubi logs the company was trying to ship overseas.

The containers are now under the care of the Forestry Department.

Despite the company’s deliberate act to break our laws, the Forestry Division said they only warned them not to do what they did again.

"They were not charged or fined, just warned," the Forestry Industries & Utilisation Division’s (FIUD) chief forester Julius Houria said.

He said there were no directions made for the company to be charged or fined.

"We have not laid any charges against them but only warned them that if they or any other companies try to do that again we will cancel their licence," he said.

He reiterated that this would be the last time and hopes logging companies learnt from this incident and comply with the laws of this country.

Mr. Houria said the company would be losing a lot of money if all the logs in the seven containers were sawn.

"Tubi trees are also known as ‘iron trees’ and they would have to pay substantial amounts of money if they are sawn," Mr. Houria said.

Chung Sol was issued a milling licence which does not allow them to export round logs.

Mr. Houria earlier said other logging companies have attempted to use their milling licences to export round logs, which is illegal.

Meanwhile, tubi trees are a restricted species that cannot be exported as round logs under current legislations.

They can only be exported if they are sawn.

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