Home > Corruption, Land, oil palm, Papua New Guinea > Why is Trade Minister Richard Maru the sole shareholder in an oil palm company and a ‘multi-billion dollar’ project?

Why is Trade Minister Richard Maru the sole shareholder in an oil palm company and a ‘multi-billion dollar’ project?




Last week both Peter Oneil and Richard Maru scampered out out of a chopper soaked in urine after an over view of the fertile Sepik plains where they are scheming a grand oil palm project which will require a capital input of K100 million to lay down the infrastructure and other establishment costs in partnership with Wilmar International a leading agro industry corporation specialing in palm oil and other seed oil products.

Richard Maru

From the outset it looks promising for the local landowners and the people of East Sepik and the nation to actually undertake a major agriculture project that will roll out spin off benefits through employment and related industries which will create wealth and earn us the much needed export dollar needed to strengthen our economy and social welfare.

However the shady part of the project is the lack of transparency and misinformation by the proponent of the project and the governments media unit that have failed to present the facts of the project to the landowners and the provincial and local governments who are going to be the stake holders in this gigantic agriculture project in the Sepik plains.

Firstly the portion of land described as 144C has already been leased to Sepik Oil Palms Plantations Limited who are operating and managing the Turubu oil palm project, and therefore is not vacant to lease out to a new tenant. Secondly, the information fed to the local level government leaders and landowners is that it is a government owned project which will benefit the community in general, when in actual fact is misleading in that the company that is to receive government subsidy to kick start the oil palm project is a private entity owned by the minister for trade and industry, Richard Maru as its single share holder with two Directors in John Andrias and Vele Ila ‘ava as the Directors who are both departmental heads.

Sepik Agro Industries LTD remains a private entity owned by Richard Maru and does not have a shareholders structure that involves the landowners and the national government, provincial or the local government so why should the state invest K100 million for the benefit of a single individual who has used deception so far to benefit himself and his cronies. Wilmar International is a high profile company with an investment portfolio worth more than $200 blllion so what is the arrangement for them to enter as equity partners or project managers and consultants?

One thing for sure is that Richard Maru may have picked up some tips from the former minister for Trade and Industry Gabriel Kapris who persuaded the government of PNG to promote foreign investment with an unknown Korean fraudster posing as an investment conglomerate only to rip landowners funds in MRDC to the tune of K100 million only to disappear into thin air leaving behind an empty and worthless sandhill castle not worth a single dime. The Ombudsman Commission should prosecute Richard Maru for fraud and corruption and dismiss such characters from holding public office.

O’Neill backs oil palm project

Post Courier

sepikopPRIME Minister Peter O’Neill has thrown his support behind the multi-billion behind the Sepik Plain oil palm project in East Sepik Province.

The prime minister, who was in Yangoru Saussia District, did a couple of presentations on strengthening infrastructure there to help facilitate the project.

“My government is committed to the Sepik Plain oil palm project and we expect State negotiations to be completed and project agreement signed before the end of June, at the latest,” said the prime minister.

He also stressed that it is important to develop industries both within East Sepik Province and the country as a whole.

“This oil palm industry that will be developed in the Sepik Plains will bring tangible and major benefits to not only people in Yangoru-Saussia and East Sepik Province but the country as well”, said the Prime Minister.

He urged the people of Yangoru-Saussia District to refrain from trying to stop major impact projects in the district, but to work with their leaders under the leadership of minister Maru to bring change and development.

“If you have disagreements, sit with your leaders and sort these issues out and don’t try and disrupt impact projects that will lead to people missing out on developments and opportunities,” he said.

He said the national Government is committed to developing the agriculture sector in the country because non-renewal resources like gold, copper, gas and oil will run out but not the land.

“We must make agriculture to become the economic empowering tool for the people,” said the Prime Minister,” said the Prime Minister.

He also presented two vehicles to the oil palm project manager Thomas Yehiwara to kick start initial works on the multi-billion kina project.

  1. TT
    May 19, 2014 at 9:09 am

    someone needs to investigate the business and other connections of Richard maru with his cousin at unitech civil engineering Micah Vines. they seemed to be cooking up something together but now that the old vc is back at unitech again, Vines has run away to Moresby on a very extended leave. anyone know whats going on with these two, please provide the info.

  2. disappointed
    May 19, 2014 at 4:52 pm

    I have now lost all respect for Maru. he seemed to have started well in his national leadership duties but with this kind of revelation, one wonders why he didn’t get the local landowners to be shareholders and directors of this company which is going to be on their land. Why use use his very own private company?? Is he that so full of greed?

  3. trevor
    July 13, 2014 at 9:47 am

    That is why I will never trust a so-called committed SDA..simply because they are full of shit..like Maru.

  4. Suambu
    March 3, 2015 at 1:20 pm

    I have been proud when I head that there was a project of Palm Oil to be at Sepik Plain area of Yangoru Sausia .I am landowner and Iam now sure what side of the cake belongs to landowner.
    What is the per centage of the share belonngs to lanowner.

    Second slice of the bread must be for landowner.

  5. emmie mauligen
    June 13, 2015 at 9:19 pm

    Ho please we all the WNB’s sepiks are have high hope in this project,especially in going back to our origin ,plsss MP’s do things rigsht..coz watever decision today will surely have a great impact on our future,province and country…

    Concern shareholder of turubu oil palm limited

  6. Francis J Gusa
    April 29, 2016 at 2:19 pm

    Please add me on your mailing list.

  7. Lawrence
    May 2, 2016 at 5:55 pm

    Thankyou for allowing me to air my say over any issues and corrupt practices.

  8. Tuo Fornieng
    May 13, 2017 at 8:13 pm

    Sorry Sepiks, but Richard Maru had the upper slice at his hands already. A major portion of the project is owned by Maru through illegal land grabbing. There were markers runnining the entire Hunawi(Sepik Plain) section of central Yangoru Sausia( Kusambuk). The villages of Morihombi, Maringe, Hagama, Yekimbole 2, Kiniambo, Haripmo, Inahombi and Wamaian are wrapped around his greedy heart already.

    Ready lo pack up na lusim ples. Oil palm ba ron antap lo graun blo yupla nau.

    • Paul Swanji Guminja
      May 28, 2017 at 6:05 am

      A public project of these magnitute requires initial started-up capital to be as equal as the project itself..in a short span of time not one single Sepik can raise that kind of capital to developed such.. Thus the initiative taken by the Minister and his Department head John Andreas for and on behalf of their province and people must be applauded.. It is perfectly normal as a formality to have their names registered as Director and share holders on that most important instrument at IPA to facilitate the legal entity to take effect to upstart the project.. Then when it is up and running organise the landowners to bring them on board.. Time is of essence and Richard and his Secretary both from Yangoru are genuine about this project.. As a land major land owner from Kanaugi.. I only want the colonial acquisition of my land by the state to be declared null and void so that I can then rightly participate.. As it is right now on paper and facts of land documents.. The land belongs to the State.. It existed even way before Maru and Andreas took Office.. It is very Important to note on the IPA documents that Richard Mary’s Titile of Office is also carried as a government minister.. This fact establishes a very transparent principle that it is not his personal company but by virtue of the Office he holds.. He and oklso his Department head who are VERY PUBLIC figures.. The good news is our land fight has been successful through our lawyer Michael Koimo so we hope to win the fight over the States improper acquisition and when that fight is over we the Land owners will be in a winning position to take over the shares and directorship of the State.. But.. If we kill the actual baby now.. When we win.. There will be NOTHING EXCEPT OUR VACANT UNDEVELOPED LAND… think think think my people.. Dont shoot blindly with blank arrows.

  9. Max Rai
    May 27, 2017 at 4:37 am

    This is a faulty message by those who do not understand temporary holding arrangements of large state owned enterprises. Please go get an explanation on the legal processes of such projects.
    The project is only in its initial stages, and hawkes are on over drive to derail it. Uninformed facebookers. Shows your lack of investigative and shallow misinformation of the truth.
    Please do not mislead people. This is a holding arrangement until a proper company is formed.
    If in doubt check with the Attorney General, a Sepik from Ambunti and married to a Yangoru wife. Maru will never be the title holder of the project, but is the care taker and initiator of this transformative project for YD ESP and PNG.

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