The Liberian Senate has mandated its committees on Concessions and Investment, Agriculture and Judiciary to liaise with relevant government agencies to probe alleged illegal logging activities by some companies in the country.
The Senate also instructed the committees to work with the National Bureau of Concessions to review the contract agreements of various logging companies operating in the country with a view to authenticate the validity of their contracts.
Findings from the senate’s joint committees, which are expected to be presented to the plenary within three weeks, will enable the body to make an informed decision on the allegations about illegal logging, specifically River Cess County, as was contained in a communication by Senator Francis Paye of that county.
In his communication which triggered the senate’s action on Thursday, Paye asserted that some logging companies operating in River Cess are now doing so illegally as concession contracts entered into with the Government of Liberia have expired since three years ago.
Paye noted that this action on the part of these concessionaires to continue to operate in flagrant violation of the Concession and Investment laws of Liberia, is considered an act of defiance and that such act should not be allowed to continue without appropriate legal action.
Speaking to journalists later, Paye said residents of the affected communities, where illegal logging activities persist, have expressed dissatisfaction over said activities, and have also threatened self-intervention if nothing is done to address the situation.
In a communication dated March 17, River Cess County Superintendent Matthew Daniels called on the Managing Director of the Forestry Development Authority, Harrison Karnwea, Sr., to intervene in the situation to avoid conflict between the affected communities and the companies.