Within a space of three days, the team collected K1 million in fines.
Acting Provincial Administrator, Moses Taram and Chairman of the Provincial Forest Enforcement Unit said the state team found that up to 80 percent of the foreign workers did not comply with provisions of their work permits while others did not have customs clearance to work in the country.
The investigation team comprises of officers from the Immigration, Labour and the Police.
Mr Taram said the team went to Kumin, Muliama and Karu logging camps and inspected business houses in Namatanai, Konos and Kavieng and recorded the abuses by the logging companies and businesses.
“Thirty workers from the logging camps were rounded up and taken to Namatanai where they were fully processed and immediately fined for various breaches to their entry visas and engagements that were contrary to their work permits.”
“This was a covert operation that clearly shows that many foreigners especially at the logging sites have entered the province illegally through foreign bound vessels and others are on jobs that do not match descriptions in their work permits. Others were not licensed for the tasks they are doing in the camps.”
Mr Taram said the state investigation team also found that vehicles being run at the logging camps are without customs clearance, which means that they were shipped directly to the logging sites without being declared to customs authorities. Many of the foreign operators did not have operating licenses.
Logging companies have been on bad books of the Government relating to their expansion into customary lands and the bitter clashes with landowners who object to logging operations without their consent.
“Such companies as New Ireland Forest, Million Plus and Viva Success operate in New Ireland and cut deals with sections of the landowning groups for their business.”
“State authorities must take the next step and fully investigate further into the forest industry and take corrective measures against agents in the logging industry that flout the system and abuse the citizens of Papua New Guinea,” said Mr Taram.