In a media statement issued today, Governor Gary Juffa applauded the swift action of the Conservation Environmental Protection Authority (CEPA) in suspending the permits.
Governor Juffa stated that the companies currently operating there were doing so with illegal permits and licenses procured fraudulently, given that all applications for various permits and licenses were null and void.
He also said the vital documents attached with the applications contained the forged signatures of the Chairman of the Oro Provincial Forest Management Committee and its members, all of whom have given statements to that effect.
The suspension has taken place based on reports of environmental pollution and delivering false information to CEPA by the companies involved, in Wanigela.
According to Governor Juffa, the suspension effectively puts a stop to the operations of the two companies whilst an investigation is conducted by CEPA and the Oro Provincial Government.
“Despite a stop work notice given to these companies by the Provincial Government, the company has flippantly continued with their illegal activities. The matter was reported to Police but has seen very little progress other than to investigate the matter. This does not stop the company from stealing timber resources using a fraudulently obtained permit. The Police investigations continue with one arrest so far but progress is extremely slow.
“Meanwhile reports issued to various Departments including Lands, Agriculture and even PNG Forest Authority appear to be taking forever to be acted upon. CEPA is the only entity that has acted swiftly and promptly,” the Governor said.
Photo credit: Office of the Governor for Northern