Tuesday, 20 November 2007 4:10 PM

Lilo Allowed Illegal Shipment of Logs: Caucus Chairman

Sacked former Minister of Finance, Gordon Darcy Lilo, had illegally ordered the release of a banned shipment of logs in Western Province when he was Finance Minister early this year.

Chairman of the Government Caucus, Nelson Ne'e (MP), made the revelation today following continuous anti-government attacks by Mr Lilo on Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare's ruling coalition government.

Mr Ne'e said Lilo instructed him as Caucus Chairman in March this year to further instruct the Commissioner of Police to order officers in Gizo to release the shipment bound for an overseas market.

"An agent of Mr Lilo gave me instructions to transmit to the police commissioner that there is an urgent shipment of round logs being halted by officers in Gizo."

Mr Ne'e said he told the Commissioner to act instantly because it was a directive from the then Minister of Finance (Mr Lilo) ordering police to release the shipment.

"I later learned that I have done something wrong because the shipment was halted pending a high court decision," Mr Ne'e said.

Mr Ne'e said he later realized the license issued for shipment was not properly done in the first place.

"I did not know the background of the shipment but I was only carrying out instructions from a senior minister like Gordon."

"I was sitting right in the commissioner's office when he rang officers in Gizo to release the shipment," Ne'e said.

Ne'e said he later realized that Mr Lilo was connected to the illegal shipment.

"Knowing very well that there's a court order not to ship any log, Gordon went ahead without telling us the truth about it - ask us to tell the commissioner of police to OK the shipment," he said.

Letters to the Editor All Letters
By STEVE BANI Vura Heights, East Honiara
By GEOFFREY MAURIASI USP, Lacuala Campus, Fiji
By CHARLES KOULI Gizo, Western Province