Despite a government Moratorium and a Commission of Inquiry the Department of Lands is still issuing Special Purpose Agricultural and Business Leases (SABL) over customary land.
Two of the latest were announced in the National Gazette on 27 July. Covering an area of 21,520 hectares and 16,830 respectively, the two leases in the Tufi area of Oro Province have been granted for a term of 50 years and rent free.
The Commission of Inquiry, which has yet to present its final report, found widespread illegality in the granting of SABLs covering a total land area of more than 5 million hectares.
Clearly the new government’s promises of effective action on corruption will be seen to be meaningless unless they do something immediately to stop this FRAUD.
Having lost their environment to mining operations, it is now alleged the landowners of Western Province are losing out on cash incomes and community development because of corruption. Paul Povey, as Managing Director of Fubilan Catering Services, is accused of defrauding the landowners who own the company which was set up to provide them with benefits from the Ok Tedi mine.
Paul Povey, a former chef with Poon Catering (now Eurest which caters for a lot of mining and petroleum camps in PNG) is a UK-born PNG resident. He has been in the country since the mid 70s. Samoa Tanu, from Central, is his partner. She is a flight attendant with Ok Tedi Mining Limited’s chartered Dash 8 service based in Tabubil. She used to fly with APNG from where she met Paul and then moved to Tabubil.
“Paul Povey has become a multi-millionaire overnight. His flight attendant wife has travelled all over the world at the expense of the landowners”
The Fubilan Catering Services group of companies, which is owned by Ok Tedi landowners, owns the Weight Inn Hotel in Port Moresby (and it is understood Povey has equity in the hotel as well – paid for by the landowners) The group also runs the 3 messing facilities for the OTML operation in Tabubil and get paid by OTML for the service. The group also owns Tabubil Engeering which provides contract work (house maintenance, house building, roadworks, the PNGSDP-sponsored Star Mountain Institute of Training). Again this company gets contracts from OTML for these jobs. Tabubil Engineering also runs a hardware/retail outlet in Tabubil where Paul and his partner get all their household goods for nothing.
“Mr Povey does not take any kina out of his pocket to buy anything. He charges all his household goods, travel expenses, his partner’s family expenses etc etc to the landowner companies he runs under Fubilan Catering Services”
This group of landowner companies are suppose to make a profit and then pay dividends to the landowners who are shareholders,. Povey and his management team are supposed to be on the payroll with a limit to their fortnightly wages. But it is alleged, Povey has no limit to his pay cheque. The landowner companies are funding his life, his overseas travel, his son’s travel (son lives in Cairns), his partner’s family affairs, etc etc. The FCS group of companies do declare dividends but it is never enough for its shareholders because Paul takes a good sum of it.
Honest FCS staff who know what is going on have tried to alert the directors of the company to the problem however it appears the directors have their mouths gagged. Povey it is claimed offers them trips to Sydney and other locations to buy their silence. Jerry Musolok is the chairman of FCS and is said to have no clue what is going on.
“This corruption must be exposed totally and those responsible must pay for the price of cheating on the poor landowners who have entrusted Mr Povey and the MRDC with their money which comes from OTML royalties and compensation”
In 2009, FCS’s Company Secretary and Legal Officer resigned because she refused to condone the corruption and what she alleged was the theft of K500,000 by Povey from the Weigh Inn.