Bougainville President caught up in rice scandal
PNG Exposed blew the whistle on Bougainvillle POGE Ltd after being alerted by concerned civil servants within the ABG. Headed up by Filipino executives slammed in numerous human rights reports, POGE Ltd is also part owned by senior Bougainville politicians, including the President himself John Momis.
While POGE Ltd attempts to pass itself off as a grass-roots development group, its senior executives have been involved in land grabs, organised violence and destructive palm oil operations. They are also deeply involved in using the power of the church and religion to divide and conquer communities.
Now the National has revealed more about the shady operations of POGE and its attempts to import rice classified as ‘rejected food’.
Source: The National, Thursday May 14th, 2015
By Rebecca Kuku
POGE Rice consigned to the Autonomous Region of Bougainville has been banned from being brought into the country.
A ship carrying 1600 tons of it was detained and its load was not to be offloaded.
The ship was to be diverted to Port Moresby.
ABG President John Momis recently launched POGE in Bougainville.
The rice was to be delivered to 85,000 members of POGE in Bougainville but was stopped by the authorities.
However, the Philippines–based marketing company POGE Development Ltd’s shipment to Kieta Wharf from Vietnam, was stopped as the consignment had not been cleared.
The rice needs clearance as safe for human consumption and given a proper permit under the Food Sanitation Act of Papua New Guinea.
Food Safety and Quarantine officer Aaron Gwamatae said in a letter to the Papua New Guinea Customs that they were to divert the vessel to Port Moresby as the rice was classified as a rejected food under the Food Sanitation Act.
Gwamatae said the ship was to be diverted to Port Moresby Wharf so that the consignment could be investigated and tested.
He said they had issued a notice of rejection for the rice for food safety reasons.
“There was no risk assessment done to verify the vitamin contents, which is a requirement under the Food Sanitation Act,” Gwamatae said.
He said the processing plant’s food safety management system as well as Vietnam’s regulatory food safety system had not been assessed and audited to assure the Health Department that the rice produced and supplied was safe for consumers in the country.
The ship has been detained at the Kieta Wharf since last Thursday.
Attempts to reach the POGE Development Ltd for comment were not successful.