Leader of the Opposition group Hon. Matthew Wale calls on the police to investigate reports implicating the Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Meteorological services suggesting he signed a letter directing various ministries to allow a convicted logger sell a consignment of seized tubi logs.
The report claimed that the minister in a letter he signed, instructed ministries involved in the process for approving the export of the illegal consignment thus allowing the Malaysian logger that harvested the logs to sell them. The reports also suggest, that the Malaysian logger was convicted prior to the directives, at the Magistrate court in respect of the harvesting of the same consignment and the whole affair was strongly condemned by landowners.
Mr. Wale points out that this is a serious matter. He says, “The way things look, it seems either the Minister is lying or someone else has forged the Minister’s signature making the minister look like the culprit. Whatever really happened, the action clearly perpetuated abuse of state power at the highest level. The fact that these reports tie a Minister of the Crown to a person convicted for the illegal harvesting of a protected species is no laughing matter and should instantly ring bells.”
Mr. Wale adds, “It also appear as if this is not the first incident involving this ministry. This ministry also came under the spotlight for an incident earlier where the export of tubi was also approved based on a Regulation that was brought about under suspicious circumstances”.
“Put two together, one cannot help but wonder whether these are isolated incidents or evidences of a corrupt practice alive in high offices within the ministry fuelled by dubious loggers? And if true, was the minister acting on his own, or was he also following orders from higher above still?” The Opposition Leader questioned.
Mr. Wale goes on to say, “The public is sick and tired of these sorts of reports. State power is conferred by law of the free will of our common people. Leaders and public officers in custody of such powers owe it to our people to abide by the law at all times. Decisions must always serve the national interest first and foremost which is exactly the opposite of what is being reported.”
Mr. Wale therefore calls on police, anti-corruption commission, the Leadership Code Commission and Ombudsman, to investigate these reports.