Temotu Premier Surrenders ‘Bribe’ To Solomons Police

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Beu asks for order to remove logging machines from Vanikoro

By Charley Piringi

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, Oct. 26, 2013) – Temotu premier Father Brown Beu says he has handed to police SBD$3,000 [US$407.70] a Malaysian logger gave as a bribe to allow his company to carry out logging in the Solomon Islands province.

He surrendered the money to Temotu Provincial Police Commander Reginald Kava yesterday.

"The money is now with the police while I wait for advice that I sought from the Attorney General’s Office," Fr. Beu told the Solomon Star from Lata.

He said he wrote a letter to the Attorney General this week asking them to issue an order to Jaya Berjaya Company to remove its logging machines from Vanikoro island.

The company’s directory Mr. Liong handed the money to Fr. Beu at Henderson domestic terminal, Saturday, while the premier was waiting to board his flight back to Lata.

The Malaysian company earlier defied an order from the premier not to take its machineries to Vanikoro.

Fr. Beu said if the company wants to operate in his province, it must follow due process.

"I don’t want to see outsiders intrude into my province and causing disunity amongst my people," the premier said.

He added that as soon as he receives advice from the Attorney General, he will ask police in Lata to travel to Vanikoro and tell the company to leave.

Temotu police chief Mr. Kava confirmed receiving the money from the premier yesterday.

"We are also waiting for advice from the Attorney General’s office on what action to take," Mr. Kava said.

He said from reports received, the company has already unloaded its machineries onto Vanikoro island.

The proposed logging operation has sparked a dispute between tribes on the island.

Those opposing the operation have vowed to take on the loggers if they go ahead with their operations on the island.

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