It is now 522 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 522 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.
The Render Safe Operation is a joint operation between the Australian Defence Force, Bougainville Police Service and community police. The operation is said to be focused on removing World War 2 bombs from the West coast of Torokina District. The call for the operation was said to be from the women of Torokina (Hakalits. S, Mothers welcome operation, 27th.10.2014, Post Courier). This has, however, been denied by the community.
According to the community the call for the operation was made by the ABG’s President, John Momis, and its business partner Henry Chow and its purpose is to clear the way for the Torokina oil palm project. As well as the oil palm project are there any other motives?
Enter ABG Vice President Patrick Nisira who, under the influence of alcohol, has disclosed to this reporter his leader Momis’ interest in the Torokina plateau and the resource beneath the sea,. It is the alternative way forward to mining that repays 2010’s campaign money worth K30 million received upon a corrupt deal with Fong. As opposition to Panguna Mine gains momentum a desperate Momis gets on-board the Australian Marine force to tap into the biggest oil basin in the Southern Hemisphere.
Member for Ioro, Micheal Oni, and Minister for Mining also mentioned to this reporter that Panguna is not the only option for economy recovery. ‘The government cannot go without mining thus we are targeting Torokina oil and palm oil through the Operation Render Safe’. It was great to see him laugh after he said that.
There is a plan to build a pipeline from Torokina to Australia via Kesa in the Haku Constituency on Buka island, the oil drilling plant will have to start because the government is desperate.
On the ground people have questioned why if the operation came in for safety were they not able to remove bombs that are 5 meters beneath the ground. The interest an anonymous leader said is not on the land. People’s safety is in the sea, that is why there is much focus underwater and not on land.
Momis and his government will soon abolish the Panguna Land Owners Association. They have already sensed the area that can help to achieve their dire need, and it’s none other than Torokina. A place where our humble population is found.
Operation Render Safe and the oil palm project are the scape goats to this hidden motive that has leaked into the air. If it was not for attaining the promises made to BCL then the 2010 American Army operation should have continued. They are the ones whose base was Torokina. It is where the American 16 foot thick ammunition cellar is.
New Dawn radio is reporting that landowners from the Tonolei Timber Rights area in Buin are opposed to President Momis’ move to bring Asian companies in to log their forests.
The landowners have disassociated themselves from dealing with any outsiders and want to work with locally owned Bougainville businesses. At the same time other prominent Bougainvilleans are expressing their concern more generally at the influx of Chinese and Asian business into Bougainville.
As was revealed last week ABG President John Momis signed a contract with a Korean company, PME International in 2013, allowing them to conduct logging, mining and tuna fishing operations on Bougainville. PME subsidiary company, PME Niugini now holds the logging rights to 60,000 hectares of forest including the Tonolei Forest Area in the Buin district. PME Niugini has signed a contract with a Malaysian company, Priceworth International, do carry out the logging and forest clearance operations.
Spokesman and titleholder of one of the Tonolei forest blocks, Francis Mona told New Dawn FM that Bougainville some time back resolved not to allow logging throughout the island and questioned who was behind this move to get Asians into Tonolei. He also questioned why certain leaders are making these decisions against ABG ‘s own policies.
Mr Mona says that landowners have sawmills that can be contracted to provide Sawn timber to whoever is interested in Bougainville timber.
Other Bougainvilleans are also concerned that Chinese and Asians coming into the region will spoil Bougainville’s economy. Isaac Thompson has told New Dawn that these Asians are not complying with the ABG’s economic policy and are not following proper procedures.
Mr Thompson says he wants the general public and citizens of Bougainville to be reminded that they must be firm because if we are not careful in stopping and controlling these Asians they can destroy the Bougianville economy. He says there is a big problem emerging and he is urging Bougianville leaders, even in the ABG to try and continue to pressure the President to take some measures to control the situation.
Controversial Malaysian logging company, Rimbunan Hijau, has failed to abide by a court order to stop all logging operations in two lease areas in the Pomio district of East New Britain.
The court order (see below) was issued on November 14 after an application by landowners from Portions 196C and 197C. The landowners say the Special Agriculture and Business Leases being used by RH subsidiary, Gilford Limited, were obtained by fraud and forgery and without following the proper processes under the Lands Act.
According to reports from the landowners, RH/Gilford has not stopped logging and other forest harvesting operations. This is in direct contravention of the court order which prevents any logging or associated activities in Portions 196C or 197C or anything else in reliance on the logging permit.
Rimbunan Hijau has already cleared at least 7,000 hectares of forest in the Pomio area 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.
The restraining orders against RH were issued by Justice Batari in a court hearing in Kimbe. The matter will return to court in December for further legal arguments.
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.