‘‘The FDA operates in the open space along with dozens of national and international partners in a fair and transparent manner and has nothing to hide. Towards this end, the FDA wishes to clarify that EJ&J/Brilliant Maju did not ship logs out of the country secretly. Hence, the story published in the Frontpage Africa September 23, 2022 edition, represents a gross distortion of the facts. For example, the author wrongly reported cubic meter fees as stumpage.
Moreover, the shipment referenced was not done secretly but was subjected to the chain of custody system (LiberTrace) jointly with the FDA and Society General Surveillance (SGS), a reputable and independent international company that performs third-party verification and monitoring services for the Liberian Timber sector. Both FDA and SGS as per the SOP associated with the shipment of logs, co-sign export permits as was done in the case of EJ&J/Brilliant Maju,’’ the FDA in a press release stated.
The FDA clarified that at no time did the author of the story establish contact with its Communication Manager, Shelton Gonkerwon.
‘‘The reporter’s assertion that he could not contact Mr. Gonkerwon because there was no light in the building is laughable because physical contact is not the only means of communication. Regarding complaints against the company as reported in FrontPage Africa, the FDA is yet to receive any complaint from the Community Management Body (CFMB), the Chief Officer, and the chairman of the Community Assembly (CA). These structures and leadership of the Authorized Community Forest were established under the 2009 Community Rights Law to, amongst other things, communicate grievances of the community to the FDA for redress,’’ the FDA pointed out in the press release.
Meanwhile, the FDA said consistent with its practice of transparency and accountability, it shared with the general public data and information on the shipment records including gross revenues of the company, taxes fees paid to the government of Liberia as well as payments made to the Ziadue & Teekpeh communities on the spreadsheet, which was published by the Heritage in its Friday, September 30, 2022 Edition.