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More on Belden Namah, Bewani and the SABL land grab

May 20, 2015 2 comments

namah

Namah is no saint

by JOHN R.WAROLO | PNG Blogs

The truth has been coming out for years but this latest Namah con game is what finally wakes us up to what Belden Namah has been doing right under our noses for years and even reported on the social media. He has been involved in one con game after another since at least 2008 when he was Forest Minister and at this point, only a fool wouldn’t have figured out the real pasin blo Belden. Want a summary of Namah’s Bewani scam? Here it is:

Belden Namah and Jimmy Tse partnered some years back to scam ‘investors’ out of their money. Bewani SABL was the perfect bait, being an incredibly large and rich source of valuable hardwood timber, all of which could be legally taken for free under the provisions of the resource grabbing SABL 99 year lease (PNG government receives not 1 toea in royalties from timber cut on SABLs). Namah and Tse reckoned that gave them the freedom to charge the “developers” for the timber themselves. There had already been so many SABLs where loggers had escaped their responsibility of planting cash crops as soon as they finished their logging, that is seems Namah and Tse weren’t all that concerned if this happened to Bewani.

Read more:

SABL Case Study No.5: Belden Namah and Bewani Palm Oil Limited

Namah at the centre of alleged Bewani oil palm fraud

Serial logger, Belden Namah, cries foul over SABL land grab

It appears that Namah’s 2012 campaign money came at least partly from Jimmy Tse’s purchase of 100% of the Bewani SABL from Namah only 1 month after Namah got it registered. We also know that when Namah was Forestry minister, they attracted (probably equally unscrupulous) Malaysian investor Andrew Lim to deposit at least US $10 million into bank accounts scattered from Fiji to Hongkong, From 2007-2009, Lim deposited another nearly US $500,000 into accounts of Tse and Namah, again scatttered across the Pacific. What Lim didn’t know was that Tse had secretly brought in 2 Malaysian loggers, Tee and Tee, to Bewani. Namah’s partner, Jimmy Tse, then issued a bunch of new shares in the development which reduced Lim’s interest in Bewani from majority shareholder to only owning a tiny fraction of the development. The scam was finished, the money was made.

As long as Namah had his pockets filled with money, he wasn’t too concerned about either his people or what was going on back home with the logging. But there are enough reports to confirm Namah’s addiction to gambling and overall he seems to have the same ability to handle money as someone straight out of the stone age. he past few months, it became apparent that Namah was running out of money fast. His own people were getting angrier and angrier that no oil palm was being planted, something that Namah knew about all along, but which he neatly avoided by doing what most politicians do – he stayed well away from his people.

As his money reserves headed for empty, for some reason he wasn’t able to milk Malaysians Tee and Tee out of enough money to satisfy his needs. They obviously weren’t interested in cutting their own profits to put money into Namah’s pockets. Increasingly desperate, Namah, hatched a scheme to pull another “Andrew :Lim scam”, but this time becoming Sandaun governor so that he could kick Tee and Tee off Bewani land and bring in another developer, this time a businessman from India.

Presumably the Indian promised to plant oil palm after shipping out all the valuable hardwoods, but Namah shouldn’t count on that. Scumbags tend to attract other scumbags, and the end game is little more than a game of who can con the other out of their money, no holds barred. After all, the money they’re playing with isn’t theirs. They’ve conned it out of someone else prior to the challenge!

Serial logger, Belden Namah, cries foul over SABL land grab

May 14, 2015 4 comments

Belden Namah, the West Sepik Governor and Former Deputy Prime Minister, who has made a small fortune out of logging his peoples forests, has been been heavily implicated in the illegal SABL land grab and who once famously gambled away $800,000 in a single night, is now crying foul as his people realize their promised dreams are never going to be fulfilled and they have been conned by their MP and his logging mates…

Developer plundered our forest, village, Governor says

Source: The National (ironically owned by Rimbunan Hijau – another serial illegal logger)

SANDAUN Governor Belden Namah’s dream of hosting the biggest oil palm plantation in the southern hemisphere is now in ruins after the proposed developer allegedly plundered his forest and village.
He now regrets bringing the developer into his Vanimo-Green electorate in West Sepik.
Namah even invited Prime Minister Peter O’Neill to launch the oil palm project by planting the first oil palm seedlings in 2012 during the O’Neill-led Government.
The oil palm tree planted by O’Neill has withered away. “I brought the Prime Minister in 2012 and we launched it. The Prime Minister planted the first oil palm. We had a big dream. The company boasted to develop and plant oil palm plantation, only to realise that we have been defrauded.”
Now Namah is planning a massive legal action against the developer to the extent of terminating the agreement and seeking compensation for environment damage.
“We brought the company to develop an oil palm project under the Special Agricultural Businesses Lease agreement. The developer was supposed to log the forest and then plant oil palm. Instead, they have moved away from their core purpose which is agriculture to come and plant and develop an oil palm estate,” Namah said.
“I was proud when I introduced this project and I thought it will be a leading oil palm project in the southern hemisphere.
“But when they started to sell the first shipment of logs, they forgot about oil palm plantation and focused on logging. They didn’t observe the best agriculture practices by clear felling logs and planting oil palm before moving on.
“Instead they just logged the area and move. Only on the side of the road they just plant oil palm juts like window dressing.
“But you go further in, there are logs lying and dumped in the river, creeks and clear fall areas logs are there.
“About 150,000 landowners are now displaced. The project was supposed to improve their daily livelihood. Instead it has allegedly turned out the opposite and devastated about 150,000 hectares of forest.
“The logging operation displaced over 150,000 people by destroying their lands and rivers and creeks.
“Even my own village has been affected. We can’t make gardens, hunt and fish anymore.”
Namah claimed that the Forestry, Agriculture, Environment, Labour and Immigration departments are turning a blind eye against the company’s operation.

The thirteen MPs so far charged, waiting sentence or imprisoned

April 27, 2015 2 comments

From ACT NOW!

For those of you who are keeping track, this is an update on the Papua New Guinea members of Parliament who have been charged or found guilty and await sentence or have been imprisoned to date:

CHARGED: Francis Awesa, MP for Imbonggu, Works Minister

Referred to the Public Prosecutor by the Ombudsman Commission, Nov 2014 for unlawfully engrossed a public easement for personal use and in the process denied the public right of access and failure to disclose a property. Public Prosecutor requested a Leadership Tribunal, March 2015

CHARGED: Delilah Gore, MP for Sohe, Community Development Minister

Referred to the Public Prosecutor by the Ombudsman Commission, January 2015

CHARGED: John Hickey, MP for Bogia

Arrested and charged by police for misappropriation of K700,000, March 2015

PRISON: Havila Kavo, MP for Gulf

Found guilty of misusing US$50,000 from a trust account. Sentenced to three years prison, December 2014

GUILTY: Ronny Knight, MP for Manus

Found guilty of misappropriation of K900,000 by a Leadership Tribunal, March 2015. Awaiting sentencing.

CHARGED: Boka Kondra, North Fly MP and Tourism Minister

Referred to the Public Prosecutor by the Ombudsman Commission and suspended from Office for alleged misappropriation and misuse of funds including K85, 276 from the DSIP funds and District Support Grant; K134, 966 from DSIP and DSG funds in rental payments for accommodation in Port Moresby; and K18, 200 from the DSIP and DSG

CHARGED: James Lagea, Kagua-Erave MP

Referred to the Public Prosecutor by the Ombudsman Commission in January 2015 for his failure to submit Financial Returns as required under Section 89 of the Organic Law on the Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates and his failure in upholding his duties and responsibilities of office as required under Section 27 of the Constitution and the Organic Law on the Duties and Responsibilities of Leaderhship.

CHARGED: Ben Micah, Kavieng MP and Public Service Minister

Referred to the Public Prosecutor by the Ombudsman Commission, March 2015

The referral may relate to allegations the Minister has been living at the Grand Papua Hotel at the taxpayers expense

CHARGED: Belden Namah – Vanimo-Green MP

Referred to the Public Prosecutor by the Ombudsman Commission for alleged misconduct in office, April 2015. Mr Namah faces at least 16 categories of misconduct, including failure to declare his election expenses and failure to acquit public funds among others.

CHARGED: Peter O’Neill – Ialibu Pangia MP and Prime Minister

Referred to the Public Prosecutor by the Ombudsman Commission over accusations of bypassing proper procedures to secure a $1.3 billion loan from UBS bank to buy Oil Search shares for the PNG government. The referral is currently being challenged in the Supreme Court. O’Neill is also using the courts to challenge an arrest warrant issued in June 2014 over allegations of fraud

PRISON: Francis Potape, Komo-Magarima MP

Found guilty of misappropriation of over US$100,000, October 2014, and sentenced to 30 months prison

CHARGED: Puka Temu, Abau MP

Referred to the Public Prosecutor by the Ombudsman Commission, March 2015, for alleged misconduct in office. The first allegation relates to the facilitation and allocation of a piece of state land to a group in Western Highlands when he was Lands Minister in the Somare-Temu Government. The second allegation refers to a road contract awarded by the Abau Joint District Planning and Budget Priorities Committee, allegedly to a company owned by a close relative of Sir Puka.

PRISON: Paul Tiensten, Pomio MP and Minister for National Planning

Sentenced to nine years prison in 2014 for stealing over K10 million.

In February 2015 convicted over the theft of a further K3.4 million with a further 3 years added on his sentence.

Unprecedented Case filed at International Criminal Court proposes land grabbing in Cambodia as a Crime Against Humanity

October 9, 2014 1 comment

Lets hope we will soon see political leaders, senior public servants and foreign businessmen being held to account for land grabbing and illegal logging in Papua New Guinea just as they are in Cambodia – watch out Peter O’Neill, Belden Namah, Romilly Kila-Pat, Kanawi Pouru, James Lau…

Andrew Simms | Huffington Post

A case brought to the International Criminal Court this week could change the way we view the problem of “land grabbing” and trigger a major review of how the human rights violations that result are considered under international law.

Land grabbing is rampant globally. Each year, in countries such as Cambodia, millions of hectares of land are illegally taken from the people who live on it, often through violence and intimidation, to make way for mining, timber or agricultural plantations. The institutions who should provide justice to the victims of land grabbing are often the very groups driving the problem – national governments and their elites who frame land seizures as an unfortunate but inevitable step on the path to economic development, and quash any resistance.

The case lodged at The Hague on Tuesday alleges that land grabbing conducted in Cambodia ‘on a truly massive scale’ amounts to a crime against humanity, and should be punishable under international law. It goes on to explain how Cambodia’s ruling elite has waged a campaign of land seizure characterised by murder, illegal imprisonment and persecution. It provides evidence that since 2000, 770,000 people have been adversely affected by land grabbing, many of them already forcibly displaced from their homes, with 20,000 new victims in the first three months of 2014 alone. In the capital Phnom Penh, ten per cent of the population has been directly affected.

The complaint has been filed on behalf of ten Cambodian victims, whose identity has been protected due to fears of retribution. Their lawyer, from Global Diligence LLP, alleges that the country’s ruling elite – senior members of government, security forces, and business leaders – have waged a widespread and systematic attack on Cambodian civilians, motivated by ‘self-enrichment and maintaining power at all costs’.

Cambodia is no stranger to high-profile land rights cases. Since 2000, the equivalent of more than 70% of Cambodia’s arable land has been leased out – a significant proportion in a country where nearly eight out of ten people depend on land and natural resources for their livelihoods. Among the headline-hitting cases were land grabs for sugar plantations that supply Tate & Lyle, the Boeung Lake fiasco which resulted in the World Bank suspending funding to Cambodia in 2011, and acquisitions by rubber companies like Vietnamese giant Hoang Anh Gia Lai.

These disputes must no longer be seen in isolation. The complaint asks the International Criminal Court to consider them as symptoms of aggressive state policy, the impacts of which transcend the boundaries of human rights abuses and domestic crimes, and contain all of the legal elements that constitute crimes against humanity.

Land deals are often conducted in secret, so available figures are likely to be a gross underestimate. But we know that over the last decade as much as 49 million hectares – an area just smaller than the size of Spain – has changed hands or is under negotiation. Many governments and companies peddle the myth that large-scale agriculture is necessary to feed the world. But this argument ignores the fact that small-scale farmers still produce more than 80% of the food consumed in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. And they do this without routinely resorting to violence, persecution or evictions. Far from furthering development, taking land away from ordinary citizens undercuts it, representing one of the biggest threats to poverty alleviation.

If the International Criminal Court accepts the case, it paves the way for others to be pursued at the international level and could signal a ground-breaking shift in how land deals are done globally.

Surprisingly, large-scale land investments are still relatively ungoverned internationally. Since 2012, the US, Europe and Hong Kong have all introduced binding requirements for oil, gas and mining companies to publicly report on payments they make to governments. Meanwhile, Europe, the US and Australia have also introduced laws to prevent the import of illegal timber. No binding international regulations exist, however, to stop agribusiness companies from illegally acquiring, clearing or managing land.

If the Cambodian government is held to account for these crimes, other governments and the companies involved will have to heed the warning and recognise that land grabbing is too big a price to pay for doing business.

Peter O'Neill: Theft of forest resources: Guilty

The SABL Commission of Inquiry reports

January 13, 2014 74 comments

More on Namah, the Bewani SABL land grab and Jimmy Tse

December 9, 2013 Leave a comment
Belden Namah and Jimmy Tse: You scratch my back…

Opposition Leader

What could the Opposition Leader possibly owe businessman, Jimmy Tse that would see him facilitating Tse’s considerable enrichment to the detriment of the people of Papua New Guinea…and not just once?

By PNG Echo.

The recently exposed Telikom land deal and the Bewani palm oil project both share the involvement of businessman Jimmy Tse and the Opposition Leader, Belden Norman Namah.

In a complicated web of intrigue and double dealing, Tse and Namah were seemingly acting in cahoots although it’s not immediately apparent which man has the starring role and which is the bit player, nor at what point in time this unholy alliance was forged.

The Telikom deal

With typical misguided grandiosity, Namah reminded the nation that when the original Telikom deal was sealed by Henry and Jimmy Tse for PNG Land Ltd, he was “…paying the sacrifice for the nation and its 7 and a half million people in gaol, in Bomana.”

Jimmy Tse was front and centre of the Telikom deal from the beginning – but it was only when he was having trouble completing the particularly lucrative contract, almost a decade later, that his, by then, business associate, Belden Norman Namah, rode in like a knight in shining armour and ensured that the deal went through.

This is notwithstanding that the sale represented a huge monetary loss to the seven and a half million people of Papua New Guinea to the benefit of Mr Tse, with whom Namah’s allegiances seemed to lie.

In Parliament recently, Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, queried the sale of the land to PNG Land Ltd, for K4.3 million when the land was valued by two separate entities at K32 million and K75.6 million respectively (2012).

Especially concerning was that, according to IPBC Managing Director Wasantha Kumarasiri, the sale was in breach of Section 46 of the IPBC Act that states that a state-owned enterprise must not sell or lease any land for a consideration over K1 million without IPBC approval.  If there was none, the sale was wrong from the get go, and it seems there wasn’t.

Influential people opposed the sale, so for Tse’s champion, Belden Namah, all was not ‘plain sailing’.

Peter Loko, Managing Director of Telikom resisted the Ministerial directive from the Acting Public Enterprise Minister (Namah) to complete the sale.

But Namah was determined.

Loko paid the price of his opposition and was subsequently relieved of his position in favour of former apparatchik of the PNG Party, Charles Litau, who was installed as the CEO by the O’Namah government.  Only then was the sale completed in 2012.

Namah’s denial that Loko’s removal from his position at Telikom had anything to do with the sale, calls for a complete suspension of all disbelief.  A tall order when all the ducks are in a row.

Namah after the storming of the Supreme Court

Namah after the storming of the Supreme Court

It takes a similar suspension of disbelief to buy Namah’s proffered explanation of “only enforcing a court order.”  After all, who can forget with what reverence Namah holds the courts of PNG? (That last statement requires the aid of an ‘ironic font’.)

And in the interim, the Tses are laughing all the way to the bank.

The Opposition Leader of PNG has helped them to wrest a substantial legacy from the people of PNG.  What delicious irony for these naturalized citizens?

Bewani: Fast forward to 2008: The granting of the lease

Well actually, we need to go back further.

By 2007, Belden Norman Namah, having only been out of jail for a few short years, had already become a millionaire (from logging – more about that in a future edition).

He had contributed such large amounts to the National Alliance election campaign, that, on Namah’s success as a candidate for Vanimo Green, he was awarded the Ministerial Portfolio of Forestry in the Somare government.

No one questioned the conflict of interests that having a logger as Minister of Forestry represented.  And this newly-mandated legislator wasted no time exploiting the high office.

In with the main chance, Namah, in 2007, introduced legislation that amended the Forestry Act (section 90) to allow large-scale conversion of forests for agriculture (Special Agricultural Business Leases – SABLs).

That done, and not allowing the grass to grow beneath his feet, by March 2008, Namah had set up Bewani Palm Oil Development Ltd (BPODL), of which he was sole shareholder, to take advantage of his own successful legislation.

The company was seeking a SABL over a huge tract (139,909 hectares) of prime forest (customary land) in Bewani, Sandaun Province.

One month later, enter Jimmy Tse ( he of the Telikom deal).

Mysteriously, at this time, Namah sold the company to Jimmy Tse for an undisclosed cash amount (before the SABL was granted).

Effectively, a person with no connection to the landowners whatsoever was about to own an SABL of almost 140,000 hectares – facilitated by the then Minister of Forestry.

The lease , the landowners, their representatives and other facilitators

Tse had to wait until July of the same year to have the SABL granted.

The deal was signed off by Pepi Kimas the then Secretary of the Department of Land and Physical Planning who complained to the Commission of Inquiry into SABLs (COI SABL – that has been recently completed) that he was under considerable pressure to grant the lease “from the Prime Minister’s level down.”

I imagine Tse was putting his own pressure on Namah having expectations of owning a substantial SABL when he bought Namah out.

Subsequently, in November 2008, Tse issued additional shares in the company (999,900) and in March of 2009 transferred them thus:

  • 80% to a foreign company Million Miles Group Ltd, (whose director, Andrew Lim is a notorious Malaysian logger) who were going to work the Bewani palm oil project (and, I assume, sub-lease the land.)
  • 15% to the landowners
  • 5%  to Bewani Palms Management Ltd (BPML) – a company whose sole director is currently Philip Eludeme who is also currently, Head of The Central Supply and Tenders Board (CSTB) and the man of NPF Inquiry infamy.Past directors of BPML have purportedly been Charles Litau (Head of Telikom when the Telikom land deal went through), and former PNG Party apparatchik) and Bob Namah.

The plot thickens

But the machinations weren’t over.

in a subsequent mysterious deal the sub-lease is sold to a different entity to Andrew Lim’s, effectively cutting him out of the deal.

Malaysians Kim Tee Tee (who was a passenger on the Falcon Jet with Namah in November, 2011 where two Indonesian fighter jets took a sinister interest) and Lip Hia Tee obtained the sub-lease on behalf of their company, Bewani Oil Palm Plantations Ltd and would run the palm oil plantation.

In October 2010, all shares in Bewani Palm Oil Development Ltd, are transferred to four landowners companies (notwithstanding that they’d already once been transferred to Million Miles Group). In the agreement Tse signed with the Tee’s, he agreed that the rental for the term of the sub-lease (99 years) would stand at Nil.

For this substantial landholding the rental would be nil for almost one hundred years.

Villagers from Imbinis - whose land is part of the SABL

Villagers from Imbinis – whose land is part of the SABL

From the transcript of the SABL Inquiry on 21 November 2011:

Peter Wuni (landowner):     My concern is with this paper and the conditions here [lease    agreement for Bewani]. It says that we have given our land free. My thinking is, the landowners, we did not give our consent to give this land free.

Commissioner:                    So who are the people that sold it off?

Peter Wuni:                        My thinking is they handpicked a minority group and signed these papers in Port Moresby.

Commissioner:                    By who [sic. ie – Who picked the minority group]?

Peter Wuni:                        Myself, I will say that the former forest minister, Belden Namah.

To top off the deal, the Malaysian sub-lease holders operating the Bewani palm oil Project were granted a ‘tax holiday’ of 10 years to compensate them for having to first clear the land of trees (log) – notwithstanding that ‘clearing the trees’ (otherwise known as ‘logging’) will be highly profitable, bringing them riches beyond the wildest dreams of most PNGeans.

In a recent ironic twist, Chairman of BPODL, John Wuni, (identified by his brother, above as one of Namah’s “handpicked” lieutenants ) has spoken out against Namah and the Malaysian company operating the Palm Oil business,  He is accusing Namah of fraud and threatening to run the Malaysian developers out of Vanimo

These are the deals that one PNG politician (at least) is doing – for the benefit of his people. (I need that ironic font again.)

What’s it all mean?

How strong is the Namah/Tse connection?

It is evident what Jimmy and Henry Tse stand to make from the Telikom land deal, it is less evident what he made from the Bewani deal and why the negotiated deal with the sub-lease holders was so inequitable.

Why did Belden Namah sell off the company to Jimmy Tse so quickly, even before the lease was in place – a question about which the Commission of Inquiry was also curious?

Was Namah’s passing of the legislation and his subsequent acquisition of a company that applied for a SABL just to facilitate a deal for Jimmy Tse?

How far back does Namah’s association go with Tse?

SABL Case Study No.5: Belden Namah and Bewani Palm Oil Limited

December 2, 2013 7 comments

SABL Commission of Inquiry Report 1: Pages 125-143

 “What was particularly unacceptable … is the fact that this SABL was granted to an entity which had already been sold for ‘cash’ by its original one man owner (Mr Belden Norman Namah) to another one man owner (Mr Jimmy Tse). The latter had nothing in common with the resource owners. He particularly did not have their informed approval under law to be the sole owner of the SABL title holder” [p138]

“Bewani Palm Oil Ltd, a landowner company with an asset base of a 99-year SABL containing 139,909 hectares of virgin tropical forest tract, was sold for ‘cash to a person who was not consciously approved by the landowners through Section 102 (Land Act 1996) process.” [p127]

 “The seemingly reckless speculative behaviour without any safety legal mechanism being in place, particularly with the biggest asset that the people of Bewani have at the centre of it, is almost criminal in nature” [p128]

 “‘Informed consent’ of the landowners … was not obtained prior to the issuing of the SABL title”. [p141]

“Mr Pepi Kimas, former Secretary of DLPP… said he was under a lot of ‘political pressure’ to issue the direct grant to Bewani Palm Oil Development Limited. He said he was pressured from the Prime Minister’s level down” [p137/8]

 “The failure of the Provincial Administrator and the Lands Officer who advised him possibly borders on criminal negligence” [p141]

 “The Land Investigation Process (LIP) was not properly carried out and the Land Investigation Report (LIR) was badly done. There were no reservations [of landowner rights] [p139] “That is a reckless failure” [p141]

 The Provincial administrator “was ‘forced’ by certain officers of the DLPP [Department of Lands and Physical Planning] to sign the Certificate of Alienability.. there was a lot of ‘political pressure’ to sign.” [p131]

 “The ability by DAL, DEC and PNGFA to effectively monitor permit conditions to ensure compliance is almost non-existent” [p140]

“The COI recommends that the SABL grant over Portion 160C to Bewani Palm Oil Development Limited is to be REVOKED and REVIEWED” [p141 emphasis in the original]

This Case Study covers the Special Agriculture and Business Lease over Portion 160C in West Sepik Province

SABL FINAL REPORT COVERPortion 160C is a ‘direct grant’ to Bewani Palm Oil Development Ltd of Bewani in the Sandaun (West Sepik) Province. It is a 99 year SABL covering 139,909 hectares. Prior to conversion to an SABL the entire 139,909 hectares was customary land. The grant is dated July 2008 and was issued by then Secretary Department of Lands and Physical Planning (DLPP) Pepi Kimas.

In April 2008, barely a month from the date of incorporation, Bewani Palm Oil Development Ltd (BPOD) changed ownership. It was sold for “cash” by the sole shareholder Belden Norman Namah to one Jimmy Tse. [There is no record of the size of the cash payment or what happened to the money].

All the original directors ceased to be directors and Jimmy Tse and one Hung Kai Hii (a Malaysian national) then became directors. In October 2010 Hung Kai Hii ceased to be a director leaving Jimmy Tse (who appears to be a Papua New Giuinean) as the sole director.

In November 2008 Bewani Palm Oil Development (by then fully owned by Jimmy Tse) issued 999,900 shares, bringing the total issued to one million.

“It remains unknown but … the extra share issue is unlikely to have been authorized by a Board of Directors’ resolution”.

In March 2009 Jimmy Tse transferred all the one million shares for K1.00 each; 800,000 to Million Miles Group Ltd of Singapore; 150,000 to Bewani Palms Management Ltd in trust for four landowner groups; 50,000 shares tp Bewani Palms Management Ltd.

Million Miles Group Ltd (MMG) has its registered office in the British Virgin Islands. Therefore the implications that for  time a landowner company with unrestricted control of a 99 year SABL lease containing 139,909 hectares of virgin tropical forest was effectively in foreign hands.

The CoI was not able to ascertain the motives behind the sale and resale of BPOB.

“The whole transaction remains a total mystery”. It was “dangerous speculative behaviour” [p128]

“Contrary to the law’s intent the SABL was directly granted to a non-landowner, a one-man ‘paper company’. It was then transferred to a foreign entity.

In October 2010 MMG Ltd transferred all its shares to four landowner companies that now own equal shares in BPOD – Palms 21 Limited, Momu Holdings Limited, Ossima Yalamaki Limited and Bulaulai Limited.

Bulaulai Ltd is owned by 11 ILGs. Ossima Yalamaki Ltd is owned by 13 persons who are also its directors. Momu Holdings is owned by Camillus Abu and Jacob Yani. There are 9 directors. Palms 21 is owned by 23 ILGs.

The developer is Bewani Palm Oil Plantations Ltd (BPOP). It is owned by Kim Tee TEE and Lip Hian TEE (both Malaysians). BOPP has a sub-lease of the remaining term of the SABL entered into in November 2010. There is also a Project Agreement between BPOP, BPOD and the landowner companies.

Kim Tee TEE and Lip Hian TEE also own Vanimo Forest Products Limited that is involved in other logging projects in Sundaun Province.

Bewani Forest Products is the contracted entity visible on the ground in the SABL area. It is owned by the same to people who own the sub-lease over Bewani oil Palm Plantations. Vanimo Forest Products (VFP) is the entity carrying out selective logging operations on the ground in the SABL area. There has been no formal agreement to engage VFP produced.

BPOD is a non-functional “peper” landowner company. It has no management structure and the single director has no idea how the company is faring. There has never been a board meeting.

“The sub-lease holder seems to have transferred operational functions to VFP, which is owned by the same two people who are the sub-lease holders… issues of transparency and whether the sub-leaseholder is properly discharging its contractual obligations to the landowners appear to be raised here”. [p132]

Another company, Maxland (PNG) Limited was initially involved and was to hold 85% of the Bewani oil palm development project. That arrangement was approved by DAL and a FCA was granted to Maxland. Maxland is a Malaysian company wholly owned bu Priceworth Wood Products.

“Maxland (PNG) has faded completely out of the picture. Why and how … is unclear” [p130]

Joseph Sungi, the Provincial Administrator, signed the Certificate of Alienability to authenticate the Land Investigation Report process. But whether a Lease-lease back instrument was executed is uncertain because no copy exists and there is no explanation for its absence. There was no reservation of any traditional landowners rights.

“Mr Sungi failed to carry out the necessary due diligence required of him as the head of the province before he signed of” [p131]

Department of Agriculture and Livestock (DAL)  has approved the Bewani Oil Palm Project and issued a Certificate of Compliance for large scale conversion of forest to agriculture in November 2008.

Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) process for the project has been fully completed. Environmental Impact Report and Environmental Impact Statement were submitted in 2008 and approved.

BPOP has a current Annual Forest Clearance Plan and an approved Five Year Forest Clearance Plan and Forest Clearance Authority (FCA).

“It is extremely doubtful if the developer is keeping to the approved Development Schedule on agro-forestry activities” [p133]

Despite DAL, PNG Forest Authority and DEC approvals there is a lack of follow up monitoring for the purposes of compliance and progressive reporting and their already appear to be delays in the project implementation.

The Forestry Act requires forest clearing to be apportioned in blocks of 500 hectares (unless increased for good cause by the National Forest Board). FCA holders are being permitted to clear 5,000 hectares at any one time and this is being promoted by DAL. No technical advise to support the increase was produced to the Commission of Inquiry.

Portion 163C SABL was improperly created within the already existing Portion 160C and granted to Ossima Resources Limited. It was later cancelled by the Registrar of Titles. Portion 163C covered 31,430 hectares and was granted in January 2011 and cancelled in May 2011 because it was found to be inside the greater 160C.

“Either not all the landowners who have interests over the lands constituted in Portion 163C were consulted or they did not give their informed consent for the grant of an SABL over Portion 160C which included their customary land.” [135]

There are “huge overlaps in boundaries” between adding SABLs in Sundaun Province. Portion 160C extends into almost one-third of the area of Portion 40C – an SABL held by Ainbai-Elis Holdings Ltd.

“The LIR, to the extent that it legitimizes overlaps in SABL boundaries and conflicting interests with the people within the SABL held by Ainbai-Elis (Portion 40C) is defective”  [p136]

“Mr Pepi Kimas, former Secretary of DLPP… said he was under a lot of ‘political pressure’ to issue the direct grant to Bewani Palm Oil Development Limited. He said he was pressured from the Prime Minister’s level down” [p137/8]

The Bewani Oil Palm project has two nursery sites and it is said over a million seedlings. Planting has commenced at the nursery site, the only place properly cleared for planting. The site is not big enough for even hallf the seedlings. There appear to be no other planting sites being prepared.

There is simmering landowner discontent and dissent based on the initial lack of informed consent to be part of the project.

The SABL holder and its shareholding landowner companies are unstructured ‘paper companies’.

“The COI recommends that the SABL grant over Portion 160C to Bewani Palm Oil Development Limited is to be REVOKED and REVIEWED” [p141 emphasis in the original]

Both O’Neill and Namah need to be held to account

November 21, 2013 9 comments

By Joseph Kapone

I am making my comment now as a concerned Papua New Guinean who is watching helplessly as our two top leaders in the likes of Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and Opposition Leader Belden Namah sling it out in the media, over the social network and in parliament. Hope it does not get out into the streets of Port Moresby.

PNG is being dragged through the mud the more they continue their fight. The drop in the kina can to an extent be linked to this fight between our two leaders.

Rumours, speculations, guessumptions, expectations, wishes and aspirations are also running around town, from one ear to the next, from one end of the down to the other and back again, magnified, glorified and sensationalised and perhaps exaggerated along the way.

Namah is branding O’Neill and his government a corrupt government. So what’s new? He called the Somare Government (of which O’Neill was a part of) corrupt and he toppled it. Then he became Deputy Prime Minister in O’Neill’s Government and together they became drunk with power, had orgies and enjoyed the spoils of their victory. Using their numerical they bulldozed various changes to our laws. The marraige did not last long and they fell out during the 2012 General Elections and are now on opposite sides slinging mud at each other.

Namah is banking on the Paul Paraka K71 million Fraud case to expose and dispose Prime Minister O’Neill and his government. Namah alleges that O’Neill directed the payments which are deemed illegal and in contempt of a courty order restraining the state and its agents from making any payment to Paul Paraka Lawyers. He produced a letter purportedly signed by O’Neill who has since denied the letter saying it is a forged document.

Now from what I understand, and please anyone correct me if I am wrong, former Secretary Finance Steven Gibson was arrested and charged for making the alleged illegal payment of K71 million – K30 million before the 2012 General Election and K40-plus million in October 2012. Again, correct me if I am wrong, but Gibson acted upon instructions from his political masters. Why hasn’t O’Neill, Minister for Treasury Don Polye and Minister for Finance James Marape been arrested and charged by the sweep team as well. Polye and Marape both gave further instructions for the payout to take place. They and O’Neill are just as guilty, if not more than Gibson.

It is far-fetched and I am surprised that Prime Minister O’Neill thinks the people of Papua New Guinea are gullible enough to believe that his signature was forged. I am sure Polye and Marape being the careful and prudent leaders they are and even more so as strong Seventh Day Adventists, they would have called O’Neill to confirm the payments. I will bet my entire savings (which isn’t much anyway) that O’Neill would have said, “Yes, pay. The money will fund our elections.” I could be wrong but how else am I going to think seeing as such a huge payment was made just before the elections. The payment of the balance afterwards would have been a thank you to Paul Paraka.

This is a pretty clear cut case and the police or Task Force Sweep Team should not have any difficulty whatsoever in completing its investigations and charging everyone. O’Neill, Polye, Marape and Gibson are all involved, directly or indirectly, knowingly or unknowingly. They should be hauled before the Task Force Sweep Team and provide their statements.

However, I want to appeal to the leaders, O’Neill, and especially Polye and Marape, not only as leaders in their own rights but as church leaders of the Seventh Day Adventist faith to come forward and tell the truth.

And for Chairman Sam Koim, if you let this one go then you are a puppet and a spineless, gutless, unethical, dishonest, corrupt and loud-mouthed Papua New Guinean. You are just as corrupt and guilty as those people who swindled millions from the state purse because you and your team have costed us taxpayers millions of kina but have not made one successful prosecution. So my challenge to you is…do you job and do it honestly without fear or favour. You owe this much to your country.

Now both Namah and O’Neill have been calling each other names. Namah has called O’Neill a pathological/serial liar when O’Neill allegedly lied about having signed the letter. Recently in parliament O’Neill denied that a certain PNG Defence Force Lt Colonel Benny was not a relative. Word on the streets is that O’Neill and Benny are maternal first cousins. So if O’Neill has lied about these two things what else has he lied to Papua New Guinea about?

O’Neill on the other hand called Namah a mentally disturbed person. Pretty low for a prime minister when Mr Namah was putting forward issues which needed answers from him. Then lately O’Neill or his hench-men allegedly released information to the media which linked Namah to the sale of the land next to the Jack Pidik park. Copies of Namah’s letter was circulated to the internet (a copy is attached). From a layman’s view that letter does not prove any impropriety on Namah’s part. It simply demonstrates a leader’s intervention in ending what has been a long-standing dispute. As a leader he made a bold and decisive decision. I don’t support Namah but am basically making my opinion based on the letter before me. Please let me know what your views are on this.

On the part of Lt Col Benny what I am reading between the line (and I could be wrong) is that Namah considers Lt Col Benny to be a threat. Is Lt Col Benny siding up with O’Neill? We all know that Namah has a strong support base both within the police and PNGDF. The potential is there for trouble so this has to be handled quickly and sensitively.

Finally, in conclusion, let me remind O’Neill and Namah that you both will have to be made to answer for your actions during the impasse. It is my fervent hope that in the not too distant future when the political leadership changes both of you will be held responsible for your actions. I have not forgotten and I hope PNG has not forgotten how you used your political numbers to treat the judiciary and the National Constitution with so much contempt. Your days are numbered. You cannot hide. You cannot run.

More allegations about Bewani oil palm and SABL

October 11, 2013 7 comments

By John Wuni
, Chairman of Bewani Palm Oil Development Limited 

There is an alien by the name of Steven Khan, a Pakistanese assulym seeker being engaged by Opposition Leader, Hon. Belden Namah to travel to asian countries to discourage potential investors to join up with landowners of Bewani Oil Palm project after having conspired with the current developer in defrauding the landowners of their monetary benefits.

The current developer had been caught up with having tampering the project agreement and matter shall soon be contested in court of law for the parties involved be prosecuted under the criminal code act.

Steven Khan and Jimmy Tse including two (2) Easter Highlanders are also involved in the scam and both will also be referred to police fraud squad for questioning for their involvement in Bewani Oil Palm project saga.

Steven Khan is a Pakisteeze assulym seeker and had does not have any legal land rights in png to negotiate for resource development on png soil, and will soon be deported out of PNG.


The current Bewani Oil Palm developer will soon be shuting its opreation and chased out by the landowners.

Be ware of con artist in the likes of Steven Khan and the latest who had just popped up by the name of Leo Mandakali of Enga Province.

READ ALSO: Namah at centre of alleged Bewani oil palm fraud

PNG PM’s office issue alert

May 29, 2013 5 comments

From NBC News and Islands Business

The Prime Minister’s Office has issued an alert to all, to be wary of any correspondence, bearing the purported signature of the Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill.

The alert is to all service providers within the public and private sectors, provincial governments, district administrations, State-owned Enterprises, donor agencies, resident diplomatic corps, banks, law enforcement agencies and the community.

The Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff, Isaac Lupari, says it has come to the attention of the Office of the Prime Minister, that O’Neill’s signature has been forged, and dishonestly used by unauthorised persons, to fraudulently obtain money, goods and other services from State entities and private companies.

He says, this signature scam is widespread and is taking place without the knowledge and authorisation of the Prime Minister.

Relevant agencies of the government have been alerted to trace and stamp out the source or sources of this deception.

This came to light after Opposition Leader, Belden Namah, tabled in Parliament last week, a letter purportedly signed by the Prime Minister, authorizing payment of outstanding bills to Paul Paraka lawyers.