On Monday we revealed that a Malaysian company, Priceworth International, has signed a contract to log and clear forests in the Buin District of Bougainville. Priceworth has signed a logging and forest clearance contract with PME Niugini Limited, a company incorporated in PNG which claims to hold a Forest Clearance Authority issued by the PNG Forest Authority.
Further investigations then revealed that PME Nuigini, although registered in PNG, is a front for a Korean registered company, PME International. PME Niugini is 100% owned by PME International which is registered in the Republic of Korea. PME Niugini has just two directors, Kil Soo Chung who claims to be a US citizen and Byung Honn Lee, a Korean national.
We have since learnt that in November 2013, Bougainville President John Momis signed a contract with PME International giving them the rights to both land and sea resources on Bougainville.
The deal was signed in a ceremony in the Philippines attended by Michael Oni, Bougianville Minister for Mineral Resources, John Momis and PME president, Gil-Su Jung.
According to a Philippines media report, an ABG statement at the time the contract was signed, stated the contract includes the logging of 60,000 hectares of forest and the creation of oil palm plantations.
The contract is also said to cover gold, iron and copper mining and processing and tuna fishing.
via ACT NOW!
The National Court has issued a restraining order stopping any forest logging operations by Rimbunan Hijau in two controversial Special Agriculture and Business Lease areas in the Pomio district of East New Britain.
The orders have been obtained by landowners from Portions 196C and 197C who claim the SABLs were obtained by fraud and forgery and without their consent and without following the proper processes under the Lands Act.
The Pomio SABLs are part of a wider land grab in PNG which has seen more than 5 million hectares of land taken from customary owners under 99 year leases. A Commission of Inquiry has condemned the leases as being fraudulent and unlawful but the government has not acted to stop logging companies operating in lease areas.
Rimbunan Hijau has already cleared at least 7,000 hectares of forest in the Pomio area alone and exported more than 500,000 cubic metres of timber with a declared value of over $50 million.
In October, the National Forest Board renewed the logging permit for the Pomio SABLs despite widespread opposition from local landowners. In September, the elected ward councillors and other community representatives from the villages of Bairaman, Mauna and Lau, wrote to the National Forest Board requesting the forest clearance permit issued in 2010 not be renewed.
When the Forest Board refused to listen to the landowners plea and elected instead to renew the logging permit the landowners turned to the courts for assistance.
The court orders stop the National Forest Authority doing anything to give effect to the new logging permit and stops RH from conducting any logging or associated activities in Portions 196C or 197C or doing anything else in reliance on the new permit.
The restraining orders were issued by Justice Batari in a court hearing in Kimbe on Friday, 14 November. The matter will return to court in December for further legal arguments.
Yesterday we exposed how a Malaysian company, Priceworth International, has signed a contract to log and clear forests in the Tonolei Block One Forest Area in the Buin district of Bougainville.
Priceworth says it has a contractual agreement with PME Niugini Ltd, a PNG incorporated company, which holds a Forest Clearance Authority giving it the rights to clear the Buin forest.
PME Niugini may be registered in PNG – but it is 100% Korean owned and has no PNG Nationals among its Directors or Shareholders.
PME Niugini Ltd was registered in PNG on 28 April 2014. The applicant for registration was one Kil Soo Chung, who claims to be a United States citizen and gives his address as PO Box 8721, Boroko, National Capital District.
The company”s registered address is Unit 5, Section 406, Allotment 4,5 & 6, Famagusta Street, Hohola, NCD
The company has two listed Directors, Kil Soo Chung himself and Byuong Houn Lee, a citizen of the Republic of Korea.
Byung Honn Lee is also the company Secretary.
PME Niugini has 20,000,000 issued shares – but only one shareholder – PME International COY LTD, a Korean company with a registered address at 62-39 # 1203 Star Tower, Sa-gi-magolo, Sung Nem City, Kyungi-Do, in the Republic of Korea.
According to a Malaysian media report a Sabah-based company called Priceworth International has signed a contract to log and clear forests in the Buin district on Bougainville: Priceworth inks logging services deal in PNG
The report says Priceworth International has entered into the agreement with PME Niugini Ltd and will provide services for logging and clearing in the Tonolei Block One Forest Area.
Priceworth International claims to have signed both a Memorandum of Understanding and Memorandum of Agreement with PME, a company incorporated in PNG. PME claims it has a Forest Clearance Authority which gives it the rights to clear the forest.
Submitted by ambros
As a local from Torokina I can confirm that the majority of the rural population of Torokina are against the oil palm project. It is a con paper project…
We are against being used to justify such a project just to secure project funds. We are against an environmentally destructive project which only benefit a few and other so called investors.
We want environmentally friendly development that we can owne and manage ourselves. There was no consultation with the rural communities. This idea was initiated from the top and pushed down the throats of our people.
Torokina does not need oil palm to develop. We have all the resources that we could ever wish to have compared to other districts. We only have to be smart and identify our weakness and opportunities/strengths so we could build on them and move and own and manage our our development and be truly independent.
The only reason why Torokina is last is because it will be coming first in the near future… if only we put our heads together. We cannot always destroy ourselves (environment) for the sake of development. We can always conserve/preserve our environment and develop.
These so called landowner chiefs who supports the project are short sighted, lazy and think they can make millions overnight. All they are interested in is themselves.
Oil palm…… is a big no…… over to you…
It is now 508 days since Prime Minister Peter O’Neill was told that the SABL leases were unlawful and should be revoked.
It was on June 24, 2013 that he was given the reports of the SABL Commission Inquiry which detail the widespread fraud and mismanagement used by foreign logging companies to gain illegal access to over 5 million hectares of land.
O’Neill has REPEATEDLY STATED the leases will be canceled and illegal logging stopped.
In September 2013 O’Neill told Parliament:
“We will no longer watch on as foreign owned companies come in and con our landowners, chop down our forests and then take the proceeds offshore”
In June 2014, announcing an NEC decision cancelling the leases, O’Neill said
“We are taking these steps to reclaim our customary land illegally lost to foreigners with the help of corrupt public servants and leaders”
“As a responsible government we want to ensure that all citizens have access to the lands of their ancestors. We will not allow our land to be lost to unscrupulous people out to con our people”
But, WE ARE STILL WAITING for the leases to be cancelled and the logging stopped.
For 508 days O’Neill has failed to revoke the SABL leases and has been complicit in the illegal logging of our forests by foreign logging companies.
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has aided and abetted the theft of logs worth hundreds of million of kina and the destruction of thousands of hectares of pristine forest.