The Volunteer to Support International Efforts in Developing Africa (VOSIEDA) a member of the NGO Coalition has complained the Delta Timber Logging Company to the Liberian Government for its drive to illegally carryout logging in Sinoe County, southeast Liberia.
Addressing a news conference on Friday, Mr. Richard Hoff II, National Facilitator, NGO Coalition of Liberia (NCL), disclosed that VOSIEDA on the 18th of June, 2018 wrote the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) prior to the National Multi-stakeholders Monitoring Committee (NMSM C) meeting held in June.
Mr. Hoff further said, the FDA held meeting with VOSIEDA on September 11, 2018 to discuss the issue and agreed it would invite the company and the community to discuss the matter, but up to date the FDA is yet to receive any response, despite of persistent follow up did not yield a formal response in order to ensure the FDA’s reaction addresses the issues raised in the communication of VOSIEDA on the Numopoh issue.
He said In May 2016, the Numopoh Community through its Community Forest Management Body (CFMB) entered into a Community Forest Management Contract (FMC) with Delta Timber Company (DTC) through the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) for the sustainable management and use of its forest resources in line with the forestry laws of Liberia.
“Since 2017, ladies and gentlemen of the press, VOSIEDA a member of the Coalition has received multiple complaints of violations ranging from illegal logging (logging outside contract area), noncompliance to contract agreement and bad labor practices,” Mr. Hoff addressing journalists noted.
Mr. Hoff, sadly, the company continues to harvest logs despite persistent opposition from residents of the community. The latest attempt to harvest logs took place on Monday, January 21, 2019, but this was seriously resisted by residents of the community who have vowed not to allow Delta Timber Company to harvest any timber from the community forest. The community has further threatened legal action against Delta Timber Company for the level of damage it has caused them.
Up to date, there is no evidence of the company implementing a single section of the social agreement and other royalties, which states, among others, the company shall build clinic, provides scholarship, hires community members, and pays land rental and cubic meter fees.
We are also aware that the Numopoh community has informed the FDA through a written communication on these violations, but the FDA is yet to act even though it has been contacted on the matter since June of 2018.
We are calling on the Government of Liberia to call on Delta Timber Company to halt all logging activities in the Numopoh Community until the plights of the community are addressed.
The NGO coalition of Liberia and its members implore the Government of Liberia to remain committed and ensure accountability and Transparency within the forestry sector which brings immense benefits and immeasurable impact to communities as assessed so far.