NOOSA – The governor of Oro Province, Gary Juffa, continuing his campaign to oust timber pirates from the region, will refer the illegal loggers to the Australian Tax Office and Australian Federal Police having identified they have Australian citizenship although being of Malaysian origin.
Reporting from Oro this morning, Governor Juffa said legitimate forest resource owners are ready to “rise up to get rid of the Minister and the Asian illegal loggers”.
He also said the head of the PNG Forest Agency, Tunou Sabuin, had been removed from his post after advising Forest Minister Douglas Tomuriesa that the logging was illegal, new permits issued and logs should be seized.
Mr Juffa visited and inspected the site of extensive logging and interviewed people there including landowners and their chiefs and illegal workers
“I found no evidence of agriculture but massive environment damage caused by illegal logging,” he told me.
Mr Juffa also said that Tunou Sabuin, acting managing director of the PNGFA and a career public servant, has been stood down in controversial circumstances.
“It was after a meeting with me in which he assured me that what was happening was illegal,” Mr Juffa said.
“He assured me that the PNG Forest Agency would stop [the illegal logging] and take action.
“He also confided that he felt he would be sacked for telling the Minister and his Chairman that they had erred.
“Mr Sabuin informed me that the PNGFA is now totally run by the Minister and his Chairman, who is also the Minister’s lawyer and appointee on the board - which is illegal.
“They run the show, totally bypassing all PNGFA processes and procedures and in breach of its policies,” Mr Juffa said.
Mr Sabuin has since been removed from his position.
Now, as local forest resource owners in Collingwood Bay gear up to oust illegal loggers, Mr Juffa said fake landowners have had arrest warrants issued against them.
“I will personally see to it they are arrested and locked up,” he said.