Home > Corruption, Papua New Guinea > Exclusive: Pro-mine Bougainville leader paid by foreign lobbyists

Exclusive: Pro-mine Bougainville leader paid by foreign lobbyists

The ‘new’ Panguna Landowners Association, led by its Chairman, Lawrence Daveona – a Port Moresby based businessman and civil servant – is holding itself out as the true representative body for landowners on Bougainville. And, to that end, the association has put itself in the box-seat to negotiate the mine’s reopening [1] with Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL).

But there is more to this political coup than meets the eye. PNGexposed can confirm that the group’s Chairman, Mr Daveona, has received thousands of kina in payments from the European Shareholders of Bougainville Copper (ESBC), a body set up by BCL’s European investors to lobby for the mine’s reopening.

These payments have been made by ESBC’s President, Axel G Sturm. According to The Australian, Mr Sturm is “possibly the company’s largest individual shareholder”. He has been agitating for the mine’s reopening from his home in the Principality of Andorra, a notorious tax-haven and secrecy jurisdiction (there is no evidence though that Mr Sturm is involved in any illegal activity).

Receipts and reports viewed by PNGexposed show that Daveona received numerous payments by ESBC between 2009-2011, ranging from K1,000 to K4,650 in value (see Appendix A). Some  payments are simply labelled ‘Project Funding’ and ‘ESBC Activities in Panguna’, while another was evidently made to purchase a laptop for James Tanis, Bougainville’s former President, who has now come out in support of the mine’s reopening. [2]

In 2008 the ESBC’s President, Mr Sturm, claimed to be “deeply impressed by Lawrence Daveona. He is the ideal mediator in this sensitive issue [mine reopening]. He has our [ESBC] confidence and our full support as well”. [3]

Axel G Sturm with Lawrence Daveona, Michael Pariu, Chris Damana and Severinus Ampaoi

Axel G Sturm with Lawrence Daveona, Michael Pariu, Chris Damana and Severinus Ampaoi – Davoena, Pariu and Ampaoi strongly supported, and profited from, Rio Tinto/BCL during the 1980s and once again lead efforts to reopen the mine today.

Axel G Sturm with Sam Akatoi

Axel G Sturm with Sam Akatoi another Bougainvillean ‘leader’ supporting Rio Tinto’s return.

We have also discovered evidence that Daveona, evidently on behalf of landowners, took K5000 from BCL to fund the reconciliation process between different landowner groups – a process viewed as a ‘fundamental condition precedent’ [4] for the mine’s reopening.

These payments – in particular the ESBC money – raise serious concerns over whether Mr Daveona’s leadership role has been compromised by personal pecuniary interests.

But there is more! Daveona was allegedly sacked in December last year as Acting Deputy Clerk of PNG’s Parliament (Daveona has lived in Port Moresby since the early 1990s). According to a Post-Courier report [5], “alcohol, vehicles and other resources have been provided by Parliament for Fraud Squad officers to carry out investigations against certain senior officers of the Parliamentary services”. It is claimed by the Acting Clerk of Parliament, Simon Ila, that his Deputy, Mr Daveona, was responsible for this inappropriate conduct.

It is perhaps not surprising then that Daveona was one of the targets of Francis Ona and Perpetua Serero as they attempted to clear out the rot from the landowning community during the late 1980s. At the time Daveona was a manager at the Bougainville Development Corporation (BDC), and a Secretary/Director of the Roads Mine Tailings Lease Trust Fund (RMTLTF) – a body set up to administer certain mine compensation payments.

The BDC was controlled by a number of rich nationals. When the conflict kicked off, and Francis Ona called for a more equitable distribution of wealth and resources, the BDC it appears were happy to assist the PNGDF slaughter their own brothers and sisters on Bougainville, flying and maintaining the infamous Iroquois helicopters supplied by Australia. By Daveona’s own admission: “Heli Bougainville was a subsidiary company of Bougainville Development Corporation (BDC) the very company I was also a subsidiary company manager of another one of its companies namely, Wear Resistant Material (PNG) Pty. Ltd at the start of the crisis in 1988. We the employees of BDC at that time knew this [that the PNGDF were using Heli Bougainville pilots] and it was business as usual for BDC”. [6]

The helicopter-gunships flown by Heli Bougainville dropped grenades onto villages, and dumped murdered civilians into the ocean – not exactly “business as usual”.

Daveona’s tenure at the RMTLF was also plagued by suspicions. Dr Henry Okole, a Senior Researcher in Governance and Institutional Matters at the National Research Institute, claims:

First, there was a complaint that formal membership of the RMTLTF, including the right to attend meetings and appoint the executive, had been artificially restricted to a small minority of the titleholders in the lease area, while the rest of the landowners had no control over its operation. Secondly, although many ordinary PLA members were aware of the business activities of the RMTLTF, some of our informants claimed that the management had failed to produce a financial report to notify them of the present financial standing of the fund. Thirdly, there was discontent over the recruitment of a Filipino as a general manager of the fund. This man was alleged to be in receipt of an annual salary of K12,000. There were claims that the PLA members were not notified of his recruitment, and there was clearly some resentment at the size of his reported salary. Finally, there were allegations that the whole operation of the RMTLTF, like that of the PLA itself, had come to be geared to the personal gain of the board members. For instance, sponsorship of students to higher education institutions was said to have been monopolised by the board members. There were also rumours that the fund had begun to operate as an integral part of the Bougainville Development Corporation – a move described by the some of our informants as ‘greedy’ and ‘self-benefiting’.

Lawrence Daveona has been, for many years, [7] an advocate of BCL’s return to Bougainville –this support is so overt that on Daveona’s website the following image appears when the heading “Our Future” [8] is clicked:

BCL executives enjoying a private boardroom dinner

BCL Chairman and Secretary enjoying the finer things in life.

To date Daveona’s support for BCL has been couched in largely benevolent terms, for the greater good of ‘his’ people. But in light of these payments, and other serious allegations, it would appear fair to ask whether other material motivations inform Daveona’s call for BCL’s return?

And how many other ‘leaders’, we wonder, are also taking payments from those associated with BCL, or have lucrative ‘business contracts’ lined up for BCL’s return – more than a few we bet!

Appendix A

Details of payments made

References
1. http://www.postcourier.com.pg/20130611/news.htm
2. http://ramumine.wordpress.com/2013/05/07/former-president-in-depth-on-bougainvilles-future/
3. http://www.bougainville-copper.eu/informations-2008-2.html
4. http://www.postcourier.com.pg/20110328/news09.htm
5. http://www.postcourier.com.pg/20121214/news14.htm
6. http://www.bougainville-copper.eu/news-july-2011.html
7. http://www.postcourier.com.pg/20070228/business03.htm
8. http://panguna-landowners.org/bcllandowners/jsp/BCLPeopleFuture.jsp
 
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  1. Lawrence Daveona
    June 27, 2013 at 12:23 am

    This is all nonsense. Who ever is writing this nonsense up should face me and leave his email address. My email address is:

    ldaveona@gmail.com

    Let us talk facts as the figures you are quoting are not in thousands of Kina.

    My phone # is 71971595. Please call me if you a game enough. Yes I am now the Chairman of Panguna Mine Affected Landowners Association (PMALA). I have worked on this for over 24 years and I am the member of the Principle Panguna Landowning family of the SML.

    Good night.

    Ljd

    • June 27, 2013 at 5:59 am

      Dear Lawrence,

      First of all you assume the author of this post is a man, Bougainville is a matrilineal society where women have a proud and strong voice as custodians of land, culture and environment. Some of PNGExposed’s most courageous and inspiring sources are women sick of men controlling government and landowner associations, to their own benefit.

      Second, from the bank reconciliation statements we have – and they are not necessarily all of them – a total of K10,800 was paid to you, and a further K6350 was paid to PLA ‘leaders’ for elections and mobile phones. That is K17,150 in total. Added to this are all the ‘happy snaps’ of Axel G Sturm carousing with PLA leaders in Port Moresby (Pariu, yourself, Damana etc), this hardly seems an appropriate relation for landowner leaders to have with the single largest shareholder at BCL and known lobbyist.

      Third, there is the unresolved allegations made by the Acting Clerk of Parliament accusing you of conducting ‘witch-hunts’ against employees, plying the Fraud Squad with cars and alcohol.

      Fourth, are the many many documented issues from the 1980s relating to the BDC, RMTLF, and the PLA (pre Ona/Serero) – so mercenary was the BDC it was prepared to help kill its own people, you acknowledge that it was “business as usual”.
      Finally, and most importantly, you insinuate in your post that PNGExposed is somehow acting inappropriately by not acknowledging the author of our exposes.

      Let us be frank – we have brought to light startling examples of corruption. Just the other week we exposed a major road deal (K380 million) with a Chinese company blacklisted by the World Bank. The Governor Powes Parkop has now cancelled the contract – even his Australian auditors missed the ban, the papers didn’t discover it, but we did. So do you really expect us to advertise the identity of our volunteer investigators so they are walking targets for disgruntled Chinese multinationals, or other grubs who defraud the public.
      All our posts are carefully researched, fact checked and edited. We do not take any post lightly.

      If you would like to respond to the post, like you already have – you are welcome to, and we will publish it. If there are facts, details or context you think need explaining, explain and it will be posted. But we simply cannot, and wont risk the safety of our investigators.

      We look forward to your thoughts and comments.

      PNGExposed

  2. Lawrence Daveona
    June 28, 2013 at 6:42 am

    First thing first as I stated in my earlier remarks, I have worked in keeping Panguna Landowner’s fire burning since 1989 through the difficult times without a proper job from 1990 – 1999 when in November I got a job as the Executive Officer to the Ombudsman Commission of Papua New Guinea. From this time onward with a paid job I still kept this Panguna Landowner’s fire burning up until end of April 2013 when I was eventually released by Mr. Simon Ila who you are saying sacked me over the Fraud Squad Investigations relating to millions of kina from Parliament. I have correspondence giving me full endorsement signed by Mr. Simon Ila as the Acting Clerk then to supply everything the I supplied the Police Fraud Squad Investigation Team including grog, 2 laptops and a new Vehicle with fuel supplied over the period of the investigations until the Speaker directed Mr. Ila to stop the investigations as he was not informed about this particular investigation. I was never sacked by Mr. Ila over this affair. I had to beg Mr. Ila to release me via written correspondences to him about three times and he eventually did as I kept pressuring him, so my resignation which requested the former Clerk Mr. Don Pandan dated 2nd August 2012 (and approved under voluntary retrenchment) was effected on the 30th April 2013.

    I am now the Mandated leader of Panguna Mine Affected Landowners Association. My very people that you are saying that I benefited from through the funds I received from ESBC (Mr. Axel Sturm) have in fact voted me in as their Chairman. I have always been transparent with my people with these funds and they knew everything that I did for them over the 24 years.

    What you think you have uncovered as corrupt practice by me over the years because you are misinformed about all that I am about. Having worked for the Ombudsman Commission of Papua New Guinea from 1999 to 2004 I am knowledgeable as to what is corrupt and what is not. With respect to my being assigned to be in charge of the Fraud Squad Investigations at the Parliament, this again is because I had much more information about the corruption that has been going on there. Yous at PNG Exposed blog apparently are not able to expose any of the millions of kina that has been stolen, misused and misappropriated over the years and by doing what you think is a corrupt practice by me in your blog you think you have achive something. For your information I am waiting for the parliament as the new management is at present working on giving me a contract.

    I have given you my contact and I suggest you use it to connect with me. You have done me damage by your baseless accusations here in your blog.

    Lawrence J. Daveona
    Chairman-PMALA

  3. Bradley
    June 28, 2013 at 9:08 am

    What a confusing soup of comments Lawrence.

    So what you are claiming is that you did give the Fraud Squad grog, laptops and vehicles, but that you obtained approval from your superior. What exactly were you doing at the Ombudsman Commission all those years to think that it is appropriate to use public money to purchase grog for officers of the law? And I just checked the original source, The Post Courier article, they have meeting minutes from Mr Ila – are you alleging they are forgeries?

    You claim the accusations above are baseless, but you seem to acknowledge that the alleged payments did indeed occur. Can you not spot the contradiction? And if you have been so transparent with these funds from the ESBC why are you so aggrieved by the above post – surely if all these payments are above board, people on Bougainville will not blink at the accusations here.

  4. James Farengai
    June 28, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    Spot on Bradley – it’s clear his comments are “confusing” at best, but more accurately b.s.
    Please time for the old timers to step aside. There will NOT be a repeat of the likes of Daveona and his ilk.

  5. Aloysius Daveona
    June 28, 2013 at 6:49 pm

    This is DEFORMATION on a grand scale.

    • Bradley
      June 30, 2013 at 10:40 pm

      What is defamatory about the post Aloysius? Is there anything that is inaccurate or dishonest?

      The bank reconciliation statements are there, are you suggesting they are forgeries?

      The photographs, have these been photoshopped?

      The post references a dispute at parliament published in the Post-Courier (it does not claim the article is true, thats a matter for readers to decide), are you saying that the Post-Courier story is a forgery and that PNG Exposed somehow set up a dummy website?

      Lawrence’s pretty thoughtless remark about the helicopters, and yes that is pretty thoughtless, to claim that chopper gunships murdering people was ‘business as usual’, has been published on ESBC’s websites, I checked. Are you suggesting Lawrence did not make these comments? Have they been forged? If so I would drop Axel Sturm a line.

      And the final remark is from a prominent PNG academic, I would suggest you send him an email of complaint if you find Okole’s analysis unfair?

      Where is the defamation? Its easy to throw around insults and threats, you should have seen what Paul Paraka did to PNG Exposed and other bloggers when they published the Finance Inquiry report. Scaring and intimidating people comes naturally to some, but you need to be able to back up your threats with hard evidence!

  6. Aloysius Daveona
    June 28, 2013 at 7:12 pm

    Would you be so kind and give us the name of the person who wrote this story? Please don’t hide behind a blog site.

  7. Aloysius Daveona
    July 2, 2013 at 6:39 pm

    You have misconstrued half-truths to suit yur own fairytale. Your story jumps from 2005 to 2012 & back to 1986? Naim blo raita?

    • Bradley
      July 2, 2013 at 8:41 pm

      Ah Aloysius so I take it your answer to my seven questions above, in order is:

      Nothing.

      No.

      No.

      No.

      No.

      No.

      No.

      In the future, don’t throw around serious threats unless you can back them up with evidence – otherwise it will just look as if you are trying to suppress the truth.

  8. Granger Daveona
    July 3, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    Bradley and all, I see you all have the bank receipts, obviously straight from ESBC itself. Why would ESBC produce receipts for you guys? The funding received from ESBC does not guarantee the return of BCL/ESBC. We all do know that a business paper trail ends with a purchase receipts and an expense report. this funding was purposely used for reconciliation purposes by LO’s on their reconciliation program. The report was presented. You want to see receipts and reports? I challenge you to come out with a name and go through legal means and you’ll see reports, and once we run over you in court, we will definitely sue your life till thy kingdom come. I bet my life on this. Otherwise, this blog post is not legitimate to us, because there’s no names. How can there be a worthy debate with Cartoon characters? The report wont be presented in here because we don’t see PNG Exposed Blog as a Registered or a Legitimate Corruption fighting organization. We are not wasting an effort to explain anything on this blog. we’re handing the challenge to you. Come out clear in Court and we battle. Otherwise, it is just a waste of precious time. That’s the final say from the Daveona Family.

    You all have a wonderful day.

  9. Granger Daveona
    July 3, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    Granger Daveona :
    Bradley and all, I see you all have the bank receipts, obviously straight from ESBC itself. Why would ESBC produce receipts for you guys? The funding received from ESBC does not guarantee the return of BCL/ESBC. We all do know that a business paper trail ends with a purchase receipts and an expense report. this funding was purposely used for reconciliation purposes by LO’s on their reconciliation program. The report was presented. You want to see receipts and reports? I challenge you to come out with a name and go through legal means and you’ll see reports, and once we run over you in court, we will definitely sue your life FOR DEFARMATION of Character till thy kingdom come. I bet my life on this. Otherwise, this blog post is not legitimate to us, because there’s no names. How can there be a worthy debate with Cartoon characters? The report wont be presented in here because we don’t see PNG Exposed Blog as a Registered or a Legitimate Corruption fighting organization. We are not wasting an effort to explain anything on this blog. we’re handing the challenge to you. Come out clear in Court and we battle. Otherwise, it is just a waste of precious time. That’s the final say from the Daveona Family.
    You all have a wonderful day.

  10. Granger Daveona
    July 3, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    By the way, I don’t see ESBC assisting LO’s with funds to reconcile themselves before they(LO’s) reconcile with all Bougainvilleans as Misusing of Public funds. Why waste all effort in this??

  1. August 14, 2013 at 5:40 am
  2. August 14, 2013 at 10:46 am
  3. August 15, 2013 at 6:24 pm
  4. February 3, 2014 at 9:11 am
  5. February 3, 2014 at 3:57 pm
  6. August 19, 2016 at 9:04 am
  7. August 29, 2016 at 9:28 am

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