Mar 27, 2016 News
– Calls made for Chinese company to surrender those state forest concessions for re-allocation
Enjoying special benefits from the former regime, unimaginable waivers and pardons from the Guyana
Forestry Commission (GFC), and gobbling up billion-dollar concessions on an annual basis were just not enough to satisfy Chinese company, BaiShanLin Forest Development Inc.
It wanted much more than this. A recently released forensic audit report prepared by Chartered Accountant Anand Goolsarran exposed how the company made swift moves to gain control of five major companies in the forestry sector. These companies include Sherwood Forrest Inc, Haimorakabra Logging Co., Wood Associated Industries Co. Ltd., Puruni Woods Inc. and Kwebanna Wood Products Inc.
The Forensic Auditor stated that in July 2007, Sherwood Forrest Inc. was granted a permit covering 167,066 hectares. In May 2010, Chu Hongbo of BaiShan Lin acquired 100 percent ownership of the shares in the company and became the Managing Director.
The other Directors were Chu Wenze and Zhang Li Na. The State Forest Exploratory Permit (SFEP) of the company was converted into a Timber Sales Agreement (TSA) on May 8, 2015 while the Environmental Permit was granted on the same day. This was the last business day before the May 2015 National and Regional Elections.
Goolsarran also noted that the Guyana Forest Commission granted Woods Association Industries Co. Ltd a TSA in January 2000 covering an area of 26,085 hectares.
In April 2009, Mr. Chu Wenze, bought over the shares in the company. With effect from April 3, 2012, the new Directors were Zhang Li Na, Chu Wenze and Chu Hongbo.
In August 2004, Puruni Woods was granted a SFEP covering an area of 110,253 hectares. The Commission converted the SFEP into a TSA in July 2007. In August 2013, Heilongjiang Forest Engineering and Processing Development Inc. bought 90 per cent of the shares in the company, and Mr. Chu Hongbo became Director/Secretary as well as the Managing Director.
Goolsarran also documented in his report that in April 2009, the Forestry Commission granted Kwebanna Wood Products Inc. a TSA covering 87,361 hectares. The original company was A. Mazaharally and Sons but the new company was incorporated in January 2008.
In October 2010, there was a change in directorship of the company, with Mr. Chu Hongbo becoming the Managing Director while the other directors were Chu Wenze, and Chu Tongwei.
The forensic auditor noted however that there was no evidence that the specific approval of the GFC was granted in relation to the change of ownership/control of these companies.
He argued that in the circumstances, the holders of the Timber Sales Agreements should have surrendered their authorisations to the Commission.
He emphasized that these companies hold TSAs covering a total of 441,119 hectares. This means that BaiShanLin had access to a total of 627,072 hectares of State forest.
Goolsarran said that since the Forests Act prohibits the transfer of ownership/control of a forest concession without the specific approval of the Commission, then the five concessionaires that have transferred such ownership or control to the officials of BaiShanLin should be made to surrender their concessions to the Commission for reallocation to other potential concessionaires.
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