THE Ministry of Forestry and Research (MoFR) has come out to clarify the actions by its Minister Honorable Samuel Manetoali that what he has done with purpose to help his people is legitimate and legal according to the processes.
In an issued statement it says according to the set legal procedures, the Minister has followed thoroughly and provided the relevant documents as requirements in the process to the rightful authorities including the forestry office.
It explains that first foremost, the landowners themselves have applied and have given consent for the purpose of development which the forestry office have received.
“That includes requirements such as the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) and the Development Consent from the Environment Division of the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology (MECDM).
“Decisions from the High Court and Customary Land Appeal Court (CLAC) with one decision from the local court ruled in favour of this development purpose are being also provided,” it adds.
The Forestry Office says all these are being done and received during the tenure of Honourable Chris Laore who was then the Minister for Forestry and Research.
It adds the signed and gazette exemption notice done by the current Minister in exercising his powers are on specific grounds.
In this case it is particularly for the purpose of clearing land, roadwork, housing project, business centre, tourism development and industrial site.
That covers the area where the company has landed its machines, it explains.
As for the timber right hearing which the forestry office knows very well, was held on the 4th of May 2018 proceeded well and now awaits the determination made by the Isabel Provincial Assembly.
This timber right hearing is understood to cover the entire Mafara land specifically those areas not covered for under the exemption notice, clarifies the Forestry Office.