HC Deb 20 April 1910 vol 16 cc2263-5W

asked whether, having regard to the Government's agreement to lease 64,000 acres of forest to Captain Grogan, there is a proviso in the agreement whereby the area indicated in the schedule may be so modified on survey as to enclose, if possible, an area of 64,000 acres of workable forest; whether this proviso was inserted because the scheduled description of the area to be leased was intended solely as a rough indication of the position of the forest area, since there were no maps extant, and neither Captain Grogan nor anyone else had ever explored or surveyed the forest area indicated when the agreement was drafted; whether any agreement has been reached between the parties as to what constitutes workable forest; whether the scheduled description encloses 64,000 acres of workable forest, or indeed any area of land at all; whether a subsequent agreement by letter was made between the parties whereby a compact area of land, estimated to contain 64,000 acres of workable forest, was to be surveyed, and any comprised land in excess of 64,000 acres of workable forest was to be leased by the tenant at a fixed rent; and whether any survey of such an area, or of any area, has been completed and accepted by the parties as fulfilling the conditions of the agreement?

Colonel SEELY

In the schedule to the agreement it is provided that the boundaries specified in the schedule may be so modified on survey as to enclose if possible an area of 64,000 acres of workable forest. I am not prepared to reply to the remaining inquiries in the question, in view of the fact that proceedings have been instituted by the Government of the East Africa Protectorate for the cancellation of the agreement, and the points referred to are closely connected with the grounds relied upon both by the Government and by Captain Grogan.

Mr. LLOYD also

asked whether, in respect of any agreements to lease land the boundaries of which have been on application defined without proviso or modification, the East African Protectorate Government has in any cases taken action for the annulment of such agreements on the ground of alleged non-fulfilment of working conditions on the land referred previous to the completion of the survey of such land; and, if so, what are the particulars and names of the several parties in such cases?

Colonel SEELY

As this question evidently has a bearing on the case in dispute between the local Government and Captain Grogan which is now the subject of legal proceedings I cannot properly give a reply to this question.

Mr. LLOYD further

asked whether, at the time when Captain. Grogan had an effective staff working in the Eldama forest, his men were forbidden by the local official to move logs from the forest for fear of damage to the bridges on the Government track to the railway; whether at this time, or for some years later, any sug- gestion was made by the Government that they held the clause relating to the felling of timber to be operative pending the final definition and survey of the forest agreed to be leased; whether any suggestion of the kind was made till after Mr. Hutchins had reported on the value of the forest on behalf of the Government, and till Captain Grogan had refused to accept a proposed new agreement whereby the forestal clauses were to be made more onerous, the royalties payable were to be increased by a sum amounting, on the basis of Mr. Hutchins' estimates of timber contents, to no less than £750,000, and no quid pro quo to be conferred upon the lessee?

Colonel SEELY

For the reason stated in my answer to another question put by the hon. Gentleman to-day I regret that I do not feel in a position to reply to these inquiries.