By Mickey Kavera – EM TV, Port Moresby
The Managing Director of National Forest Authority (NFA), Kanawi Pouru, appeared briefly in court this morning at 9:30am for mention on charges of Official Corruption.
Mr Pouru from Manus was arrested and charged last Friday for allegedly facilitating and issuing an operating license, to a controversial logging company late last month.
He was charged for abuse of authority in office, prejudicial to the lawful rights of the logging company operating in the Central Province. He was released on a K1000 bail and appeared in Court this morning.
In a brief police crime report, it stated that the head of NFA illegally facilitated and issued an operating license to the logging company (named) without the authorisation of the Timber Permit Holder.
According to the police statement presented in Court today – the summary of facts, the complaint laid against Mr Pouru stemmed from facilitating the issuance of an operating license to this logging company (named).
The said landowner company, the other that took the matter to police and the courts, had the legal authority, prerogative, obligation and right to engage any developer, contractor, investor or logging company to harvest logs under its timber permit in their TRP project area.
The said landowner company, entered into a legal binding agreement with developer (named) to harvest logs at TRP project area, under the Logging and Marketing Agreement (LMA).
After the LMA was formalised in 2008, Investment Promotion Authority (IPA) was informed and in 2009, IPA issued a Foreign Enterprise Certificate to the company to engage in logging activities at the specified area.
Upon the issuance of the alleged illegal license, the company went ahead and started harvesting logs without the original authorities’ knowledge.
The actions of the senior public servant contradicted the legally binding LMA between both companies and that is why the matter is now a police case and has been taken to court.
Pouru refused to comment on the matter as it was before the courts, and asked for lawyers to comment.