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Posts Tagged ‘Papua New Guinea’

International SOS teams up with leading human rights violator and environmental destroyer in Papua New Guinea

May 29, 2015 1 comment

sosThe world’s leading medical and travel security assistance company, International SOS, has teamed up with Rimbunan Hijau subsidiary Tropicair to provide evacuation services in Papua New Guinea [see announcement below].

The new alliance seems a strange one. Rimbunan Hijau’s appalling human rights record and history of illegal logging seems to directly contradict International SOS’s claimed commitment to saving and protecting lives.

Just last year Rimbuan Hijau was exposed in a multi-agency report as employing police officers to brutalize local communities in logging areas.

The 2013 Commission of Inquiry into Special Agriculture Business Leases revealed Rimbunan Hijau’s role at the centre of a huge corrupt and illegal land grab:

Rimbunan Hijau puppets cartoon, 2003With corrupt government officials from implementing agencies riding shotgun for them, opportunistic loggers masquerading as agro-forestry developers are prowling our countryside, scoping opportunities to take advantage of gullible landowners and desperate for cash clan leaders… Our investigations reveal that over 50% of the so-called developers’ currently holding subleases on SABLs are connected in one way or another to Rimbunan Hijau (RH) Limited, which by far is the biggest logging operator in PNG’.

The inquiry concluded more than 90% of the leases investigated were unlawful and should be revoked. But RH has not relinquished any of its stolen ground.

Rimbunan Hijau has a long history of abuse in PNG.

A collaboration with Rimbunan Hijau contradicts SOS's core values

A collaboration with Rimbunan Hijau contradicts SOS’s core values

A 2004 report, The Untouchables – Rimbunan Hijau’s world of forest crime and political patronage, exposed RH as one of the world’s largest forest destroyers; its operations characterised by documented illegalities and environmental destruction and protected by an extensive and well-established network of political patronage and media control.

The SBS television company in Australia has also exposed Rimbunan Hijau’s human rights abuses. This is the video testimony of one police officer who was employed by RH:

“We handled those suspects good and proper. We bashed them up, we hit them with huge irons and when we mobilised in there we made sure that these people who complain against rights of their benefit were manhandled, you know. I became violent because of their [Rimbunan Hijau’s] actions, because of their instructions”.

For a more complete dossier of Rimbunan Hijau human rights abuses check out this review.

Rimbunan Hijau is the largest logging company operating in PNG where at least 70% of logging operations are illegal – as revealed in a 2014 report from the prestigious Chatham House group in London.  That is a figure confirmed by the World Bank.

Bizarrly, International SOS claims “providing a human touch and protecting people is our number one priority

One wonders how International SOS’s 11,000 employees, including 5,600 medical professionals, will feel knowing they are working with a company that likes to use the police to terrorize local communities and locks people in shipping containers in the tropical heat for trying to defend their customary land rights.

How will SOS staff view the collaboration with Rimbunan Hijau?

How will SOS staff view the collaboration with Rimbunan Hijau?

And how will International SOS’s clients which include multinational companies, governments and NGOs across the globe, react to this new partnership?

Tropicair is a wholly owned subsidiary of Rimbuan Hijau, with 90% of its shares being held by Rimbunan Hijau’s largest logging company in PNG, Wawoi Guavi Timber Co. Tropicair’s directors are all Rimbunan Hijau employees, as are its two company secretaries.

Ironically, Wawoi Guavi’s own logging operation has been revealed as illegal by the World Bank and has been at the centre of many of Rimbunan Hijau’s worst human rights abuses in PNG.

The Wawoi Guavi Timber company has also twice tried to unlawfully obtain logging rights to the huge 850,000 Kamula Doso logging concession. Its first attempt was exposed as illegal by the Ombudsman Commission in 2002, its second in 2006 was ruled illegal by the courts.

International SOS says it prides itself on helping its clients to assess risk – but what about the reputational risk to International SOS, its clients and its staff from its alliance with Rimbunan Hijau?

RH boycott sticker

ALLIANCE WITH TROPICAIR IN PAPUA NEW GUINEA
International SOS and Tropicair have formed an alliance, creating the largest skilled and responsive medical evacuation service in Papua New Guinea. The expanded capabilities of the providers deliver faster access to quality medical evacuation services and, consequently, improved health outcomes for people across the country.
The partnership increases both the capability and capacity of aero-medical evacuation services in and around  Papua New Guinea, combining International SOS’ 20 years of international standard aero-medical expertise in Papua New Guinea with Tropicair’s local fleet of nine aircraft, including a new Twin Otter that can access airfields as short as 650m.

Tropicair was born out of Rimbunan Hijau's need to service its illegal logging sites

Tropicair was born out of Rimbunan Hijau’s need to service its illegal logging sites

A signing ceremony was held in Port Moresby on Wednesday and was attended by Australia’s Minister for Trade and Investment, the Hon. Andrew Robb.
International SOS Regional Managing Director, Michael Gardner said:
“I am delighted to announce the strengthening and formalisation of the partnership between International SOS and Tropicair in Papua New Guinea.
Together our extensive experience will ensure that people in Papua New Guinea and the surrounding region have access to the most rapid and professional air ambulance and medical assistance services available.
Our clients operating in Papua New Guinea can be confident they are fulfilling duty of care to their employees with our improved capability to medically evacuate people from the most remote areas of the country, and transfer them to either Port Moresby, Australia or further afield depending on the required treatment
We chose to partner with Tropicair because of its excellent reputation and capabilities. Tropicair shares our values of improving the health and safety of people in Papua New Guinea and surrounding areas, and our commitment to providing the highest standard of services.”
The partnership with Tropicair will further complement International SOS’ substantial resources in Port Moresby, which include two medical clinics, training services, medical response and evacuation teams.
International SOS have more than 350 medical and operational staff on the ground in Papua New Guinea, 86 percent of which are Papua New Guinea nationals.
International SOS has operated in Papua New Guinea for 20 years, providing medical services for Australian and International corporations, NGOs, Governments and Education institutions. These services include world class primary and emergency medical care, medical evacuation, public health and community health programs, as well as malaria control, occupational medicine and first aid training.
Outside of the Papua New Guinea government we are the largest employer of Papua New Guinea medical professionals and have trained and developed over 500 national medical staff.
About International SOS
International SOS is the world’s leading medical and travel security risk services company. We care for clients across the globe, from more than 850 locations in 92 countries.
Our expertise is unique: More than 11,000 employees are led by 1,400 doctors and 200 security specialists. Teams work night and day to protect our members.
We pioneer a range of preventive programmes strengthened by our in-country expertise. We deliver unrivalled emergency assistance during critical illness, accident or civil unrest.
We are passionate about helping clients put Duty of Care into practice. With us, multinational corporate clients, governments and NGOs can mitigate risks for their people working remotely or overseas.

Disgraced Finance Secretary slammed in COI Report gets PhD & Teaching Fellowship in Australia

May 27, 2015 3 comments

What does a disgraced former Finance Secretary do after they are sacked for presiding over one of the biggest scams in PNG history. They go to Australia to get a PhD!

Thaddeus Kambanei was Finance Secretary from 2001-2006. During this period hundreds of millions in Kina was paid out through a range of frauds, including the infamous bogus lawsuit scam.

The Commission of Inquiry into the Department of Finance report [6.7MB] notes:

‘The Inquiry found that Mr. Kambanei tried his level best to disassociate himself from many questionable and fraudulent payments processed during his tenure in office. He stated that Deputy Secretary Gabriel Yer would have been responsible for these claims. The Commission finds Mr. Kambanei’s evidence to be misleading, evasive and not credible. At all material times he was responsible for directing his staff to process settlement of claims against State. The Commission further noted that he pooled funds improperly and illegally to settle these claims and it was evident that he was in control and knew exactly what he was doing contrary to the PFMA and the Appropriation Act … Mr. Thaddeus Kambanei abused his position as Secretary for Finance to access funds illegally from monies legally set aside for other purposes’.

But that did not stop Thaddeus from obtaining a Phd at the University of Canberra – which rather shows how much Australia really cares about corruption and good governance in PNG!

Unbelievably the PhD, awarded in March 2014, was based on a case study into the Department of Finance! And Kambanei thanks one of his co-conspirators in the Department of Finance debacle, Gabriel Yer (his Deputy during the heist) for granting him access to data:

‘I am also thankful to Mr Gabriel Yer, the Secretary for the DoF, for granting me access to the department and making all of the information available for the data collection  segment of my doctoral studies’.

More worryingly the man at the centre of PNG’s grand heist was given a Teaching Fellow Award at the University of Canberra. Yes, the University actually paid Kambanei to teach fellow students!

Thaddeus writes in his PhD acknowledgement:

I also want to thank the Faculty of Business, Government and Law, and the School of  Information Systems and Accounting, University of Canberra—especially Professors  Monir Mir, Milind Sathye and Mark Evens—for considering me worthy of receiving the  Teaching Fellowship Award in the discipline of Accounting, Banking and Finance. The  award been rewarding for the past four years, and teaching students at the  undergraduate and postgraduate diploma levels, as well as rubbing shoulders with  visiting international academics and fellow academics in the faculty and the university  generally, has been the experience of a lifetime’.

Secretary for Justice Lawrence Kalinoe rewrites history and ignores the law to endorse SABL land theft

May 26, 2015 1 comment

In an astonishing radio broadcast captured and published by community advocacy group, ACT NOW!, Secretary for Justice, Lawrence Kalinoe, has effectively thrown the rule of law, the Constitution and the Land Act into the bin:

  • If a small group of landowners colludes with corrupt public servants and a foreign company to unlawfully steal customary land that is okay, according to Lawrence Kalinoe.
  • If the majority of the landowners don’t give their consent to the loss of their customary land, then that is tough
  • If the processes and procedures laid out in the Lands Act and the Constitutional protections are not followed, so what?
  • If public servants fail to do their jobs and shortcut the whole process, then the government could not care less.
  • And if the companies then clear the forests and steal timber woth hundreds of millions of dollars, then good luck to them

Lawrence Kalinoe’s astonishing defence of the unlawful SABL land grab rewrites history and ignores the law

Act Now!

Lawrence Kalinoe

Secretary for Justice, Lawrence Kalinoe. Photo EMTV

The Secretary for Justice, Lawrence Kalinoe, has made an astonishing defence of the unlawful SABL land grab and the government’s failure to cancel the leases or stop the illegal logging. He was speaking on radio in direct response to the civil society campaign to cancel the leases and an interview with ACT NOW! Campaign Coordinator, Eddie Tanago.

Speaking on the PNGFM MausWara program, Kalinoe has claimed:

  • the SABL leases were not issued by the State but by the landowners themselves;
  • the State cannot cancel the leases because it will have to pay K8 billion in compensation to the logging companies; and,
  • by appointing a Ministerial Committee, the Prime Minister has done enough to act on the Commission of Inquiry findings.

None of these claims are true. Not only has Kalinoe turned the facts completely on their head in an apparent attempt to rewrite history, the government’s top lawyer is ignoring the Land Act and throwing away the basic legal rights and protections contained in the Constitution

Kalinoe claims the ‘very fundamental point is it was the land owners themselves that gave these SABLs… it is not the government or anyone else’. Kallinoe is both factually and legally incorrect and one fears he is being intentionally disingenuous to serve his political bosses.

The unlawful SABL leases were issued by the Department of Lands and signed by the Minister on the recommendation of his Departmental Secretary. The leases are official documents that have been signed off at the very highest levels of the State. It was officials in the Department who ignored or abused the Lands Act and failed to protect the interests of the majority of the landowners. Their deceit and incompetence has been clearly laid out in the Commission of Inquiry reports.

While it is true the leases were, in some cases, supported by a minority faction of landowners, the State failed in its basic duty to protect the interests of the majority. The whole Lands Act is based around the protection of customary land rights and the duty of the State to ensure minority factions do not hijack community land for their own selfish interests. If the Department of Lands had done its job properly and followed and applied the Lands Act, the leases would never have been issued.

It is also ridiculous to suggest the logging companies that have colluded with a minority of landowners to gain unlawful access to millions of hectares of forest could walk away with billions of kina in compensation. Firstly these companies would have to satisfy the courts they were unaware the leases were unlawful and they were innocent victims – something both the Commissioners and the Prime Minister have said is not true. They would then have to account for the hundreds of millions of kina they have received from their illegal logging operations. And finally they would have to explain why they have clear-felled thousands of hectares of forest but failed to establish the promised agriculture projects or only planted a few hectares.

These companies are not the innocent victims that Kalinoe paints them to be. In most cases they colluded with landowners and corrupt officials to get the leases in the first place and they have made huge profits from their logging operations. The State does not owe them a single toea. This has been clearly demonstrated in the five court cases to date where individual SABL leases have been declared null and void and no compensation whatsoever has been paid.

Finally, for Kalinoe to claim the Prime Minister has acted on the Commission of Inquiry recommendations to revoke the leases because he has appointed a Ministerial Committee, verges on the ludicrous. It is now very nearly two-years since the Commission findings were given to the PM. Appointing a Ministerial Committee which after 22 months has failed to act on a single recommendation from the Commission reports does not constitute “action”.

You can read the full transcript of Kalinoe’s comments below or listen to the audio file recording.

 

Full transcript
I want to respond to this interview you had with ACT NOW! PNG.
I want to correct a lot of misconceptions
I am Lawrence Kalinoe, Secretary for Justice
In this interview, this campaign ACT NOW PNG is running has got plenty of misinformation in it
The first, and very fundamental one is that it was the land owners themselves that gave these SABLs. It is factions of landowners who actually go and actually give away their land to the fellow colleague partner developers, many times they are external developers.
It is not, this is clear, it is not the government or anyone else, it is the landowners who go and actually persuade the developer to come and then they enter into these arrangements to do SABL activities logging or eventually what have you.
So this you need to make that clear. It is not government, it is not forestry, it is not even the foreign developers who come and acquire customary land. It is the landowners, factions of landowners who actually go and let their customary land out.
That is point number one.
Point number two. In relation to the implantation of this Commission of Inquiry Report. The government has acted on it. The government position is that because there are so many SABLs which have been brought into question and some of the SABLs were actually acquired with close consultation with factions of landowners. On that basis the landowners got their certificates and they went and invited the foreign developers to come. So they came and have developed these logging activities of hydro forestry or what have you. In a situation like that the question is this, the issue therefore is this, why should the State now, the State meaning the Independent State of Papua New Guinea, be made to pay millions and millions of kina?
Currently we have just about K8 billion in the total number of claims against the State by those affected property developers, forestry, agro-forestry developers. You think about it, what is the fairness? The State was not involved in this business. It was factions of landowners who go and negotiate with developers who come and try and develop their agro-forestry projects. It is them, they go and do this themselves. And when the other faction finds out that they are not in it they go and kick up a fuss. They try and find a reason to actually annul the SABL.
But anyway, the thing is this, the government has actually received that report. The government has put that to a Ministerial Committee and the Ministerial Committee is looking into specific cases to address these very complex issues.
It is not as easy as what, because there is so much implication in terms of damages against the State. We as the government, the Prime Minister Peter O’Neill he is very cautious. He cannot allow a situation where the State ends up paying companies about K8 billion. That is the total number of exposure the State is facing. We cannot allow that to happen. So the Prime Minister is very cautious. He has set up the Ministerial Committee and the system is working on it.
It is not as simple as what ACT NOW! are saying. That you just go and cancel the lease and give the lease back to the customary landowners. Who will pick up the cost? Who will pay for the damages which are now claimed by those developers, those investors?
I tell you it is a massive investment that is involved in some of them.
One particular litigation you are looking at in the vicinity of K500 thousand, K500 million sorry, K500 million, K600 million. That is so much money for the State to be made actually responsible for.
So it is a bit like the forestry and private owners dealings, private dealings legislation we had before, before the Barnett Inquiry. Where customary landowners go and do their deals themselves and only where there are problems now they run to the courts and the State because it facilitates the process, the State ends up paying for the cost. That is not right.
So Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and this government will make sure that where there is clear illegality and where the liabilities can be sorted out quickly those are acted on as, I mean, some are being acted on.
It is the landowners, they are the ones who go and enter into these deals and bring foreign developers to develop their land. So they cannot now turn around and cry and say oh look the government must just cancel this and give this land back to me. What happens to the title, that SABL title that was issued and on the basis of that title they went and got the developer to come themselves. These are, they go and actually plead, they go and fight with the developers. They say oh this is okay this is the benefit this project stands to bring to my community and my people. As a result the project gets off the ground. But when one faction complains that is when issues arise. That is when the State is dragged in to actually pay out, to pay for the damages. The claims are made against the State by the way and it is not a fair situation.
Make sure you are mindful of these things and don’t paint things that seems to suggest oh the government the Prime Minister Peter O’Neill is not doing anything at all. No, far from it, he has acted on the report.

O’Neill’s illegal logging: 700 days and counting…

May 25, 2015 1 comment

700

There has still been NO ACTION to cancel the huge SABL land grab, revoke the unlawful leases or stop the illegal logging in Papua New Guinea.

It is now 700 days since Prime Minister Peter O’Neill was told that the SABL leases were unlawful and should be cancelled.

On June 24, 2013 O’Neill 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” 

Most recently O’Neill promised a new Task Force to look at the Commission of Inquiry recommendations, but, WE ARE STILL WAITING for the leases to be cancelled and the logging stopped.

For 700 days O’Neill has failed to ensure the SABL leases are revoked and he has been complicit in the illegal logging of our forests by foreign logging companies.

Crucially he has failed to take any action to remove the corrupt public servants responsible for the land grab or distance himself from the politicians, including key Minister’s, complicit in the illegal deals and who are now blocking any positive action to revoke the leases and stop the logging.

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.

Peter O'Neill: Theft of forest resources: Guilty

Rimbunan Hijau silent on its takeover of Maybank

May 22, 2015 3 comments

RH boycott sticker, 2003

maybank

There has been plenty of media coverage this week about the sale by Maybank of its Papua New Guinea banking interests. The story has made headlines in both PNG and Malaysia and been featured extensively in the business pages right across the the Asian and Pacific regions. A few examples of the media coverage are copied at the foot of this post.

But one crucial detail has been missing from all the media coverage. Nobody has mentioned that the company taking over Maybank’s interests in PNG is in fact the notorious Malaysian logging company Rimbunan Hijau.

Rimbunan Hijau has logging operations all across PNG

Rimbunan Hijau has logging operations all across PNG

RH has already used the profits from its extensive illegal and destructive logging operations in PNG to expand its interests into property development, media, retail, shipping, aviation, travel and the financial sector. But it is remaining very coy about its involvement in the Maybank deal – presumably because land grabbing (RH was slammed in the recent Commission of Inquiry into the unlawful SABL land scam), illegal logging, environmental destructionhuman rights abuses and the use of the police to terrorize landowners are somewhat frowned upon in the offices and board rooms of the banking world. And how many Maybank customers will want to stay with the bank when they realise their monies are in the hands of Rimbunan Hijau?

the national 20 May 2015

Even The National, Rimbunan Hijau’s own newspaper, failed to mention it is RH who has taken over Maybank

Even Rimbunan Hijau’s own newspaper, The National, has failed to mention RH’s role in the deal, despite splaying the story of the Maybank sale across its front page on Wednesday, including two more articles on the deal on its inside pages and running two further stories yesterday, including one featuring opposition leader Don Polye endorsing the takeover.

All that we have learnt about the Maybank sale from the media is that Maybank has been sold to a company called Kina Ventures and Kina Ventures is a wholly owned subsidiary of Kina Securities.

But who owns Kina Securities? Well it is Rimbunan Hijau. But that ownership is carefully hidden behind a veil of secrecy and deception involving various off-shore companies and hidden shareholdings.

According to the Investment Promotion Authoriy, Kina Securities is 94% owned by Fu Shan Investment Ltd with Columbus Investments and Wayne Golding each holding small 3% share parcels.

Fu Shan Investment is a Hong Kong registered company with address at Level 28, 3 Pacific Place, 1 Queens Road East, Hong Kong.

RH has a long history of covering up its ownership of Kina Securities

RH has a long history of covering up its ownership of Kina Securities

But the first real clue as to Rimbunan Hijau’s ownership comes from looking at Kina’s Board of Directors. Alongside Wayne Goding, Sid Yates, Don Manua and Rabbie Namaliu sit Peter NG, General Manager for Corporate Finance and Investment for the Rimbunan Hijau Group in Malaysia, and Chin ‘James’ Yap, of Rimbunan Hijau PNG. Former directors also include direct members of the Tiong family, the owners of Rimbunan Hijau.

Fu Shan acquired its shares in Kina Securities in November 2011, buying  1,190,000 from a company called Flensburg Inc and 600,000 from Primeco Limited. Both Flensburg and Primeco have previously been exposed as Rimbunan Hijau subsidiaries. Colombus acquired its 100,000 shares from Flensburg in December 2006

Those with a long memory may remember we have been here before. In 2006, when Rimbunan Hijau’s ownership of Kina Securities was first exposed, the company went to extraordinary lengths trying to deny the claims and cover-up the evidence. The lies and deception, particularly from Sid Yates, was all extensively detailed online by PNG’s first web based corruption watchdog – Masalai i Tokaut.

Masalai

Masalai revealed that the company Kina claimed as its owner was not even a real, registered company and that the women Kina said was the ultimate shareholder was actually the wife of the brother of Rimbunan Hijau’s founder and a director of several RH subsidiary companies. Masalai also exposed how Kina was operating its huge superannuation business without a licence and was defrauding the State of million of kina in fees.

Some of the recent media coverage

Malaysia’s Maybank exits Papua New Guinea for $117 mln
Source: Reuters
Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank), Malaysia’s largest bank by assets, said on Monday it will sell its commercial banking units in Papua New Guinea for 418 million ringgit ($117.15 million).
The sale of Maybank (PNG) Ltd and Mayban Property Ltd to Kina Ventures Ltd follows a decision to re-focus Maybank’s resources into ASEAN and China, where it can achieve better synergies and investment returns, the bank said in a statement.
“While we have been operating profitably and successfully in Papua New Guinea over the years, we have had to evaluate how best we can use our capital going forward, especially in light of new and more stringent requirements under the Basel III regime,” Chief Executive Abdul Farid Alias said.
The sale is expected to conclude in the second half of this year.

Maybank to exit Papua New Guinea
Source: The Rakyat Post
Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank) has entered into an agreement with Kina Ventures Ltd and Kina Securities Ltd of Papua New Guinea for the proposed disposal of Maybank’s entire equity interest of two subsidiaries incorporated in Papua New Guinea for a total cash consideration of about RM418 million.
The sale of both Maybank (PNG) Ltd (MPNG) and Mayban Property (PNG) Ltd (MPPNG) is expected to be completed in the second half of 2015, Maybank said in a statement today.
MPNG and MPPNG have been involved in commercial banking activities and property investment respectively.
The disposal will not have any effect on the issued and paid-up share capital as well as shareholdings of the substantial shareholders of Maybank.
It is also not expected to have any material effect on the earnings per share, net assets per share and gearing of the Maybank Group for the financial year ending Dec 31, 2015.
Maybank group president and chief executive officer Datuk Abdul Farid Alias said the sale is part of Maybank’s continuous effort to evaluate its international operations with a specific focus on maximising capital use as well as optimising resources in the most efficient manner.
“This decision to dispose of our operations in Papua New Guinea is a result of strategic reviews carried out regularly at the group to reprioritise our capital and resources with the intention of focusing our growth agenda in target regions where we can achieve the best returns from our investments.
“While we have been operating profitably and successfully in Papua New Guinea over the years, we have had to evaluate how best we can use our capital going forward, especially in light of new and more stringent requirements under the Basel III regime.”
Ultimately, he said, greater value creation can be achieved for all stakeholders by re-focusing resources in the Asean and Greater China regions where greater synergies and better returns on capital investment can be realised.
Abdul Farid said despite the share sale agreement, Maybank would still be committed to serving customers in Papua New Guinea who have cross-border requirements given the banking group’s vast network in the region and in key international centres.

Kina takes over Maybank
Source: The National, Wednesday May 20th, 2015
KINA Bank will become the country’s fourth largest bank following the Kina Group’s K319 million-plus acquisition of Maybank PNG.
Kina Group chief executive officer Sydney Yates said Maybank and the Kina Group customers could now access a broader range of banking and financial services and products under one roof.
Kina Group is the country’s largest non-banking financial institution. “Cornerstone investors that have agreed to provide funding in connection with the transaction include PNG superannuation funds Comrade Trustee Services Limited, Nambawan Super Limited and National Superannuation Fund Limited,” Yates said.
“Kina Group is presently considering options to fund future growth, including a possible stock exchange listing.”
Yates said Maybank PNG was an attractive banking business with a solid capital and liquidity position. The transaction is being undertaken in consultation with the Central Bank of PNG and should be completed in July.
Yates said Kina Group would pay about  K319 million, plus the difference in the value of the net assets of Maybank PNG at the completion of the proposed acquisition, compared to December 31, 2014.
“The acquisition allows Kina to enter into electronic banking, leveraging Maybank PNG’s client base and the growing demand for electronic banking services,” Yates  said.
“Kina Group already services the financial and investment needs of our 8000 lending clients, 3000 stockbroking clients and 150,000 fund administration clients, as well as acting as a licensed investment manager with approximately K4.7 billion in funds under management.
“Maybank PNG’s business provided a natural fit to Kina, enabling it to extend its reach in PNG’s financial sector market with an established and profitable company that had all necessary licences and an established client base.”
Yates said the acquisition “further reinforces our commitment to provide the PNG community with an alternative to the big banks and offers our combined customers access to a wider range of products and services”.
He said Maybank PNG was identified as an attractive acquisition for Kina due to its established infrastructure, conservative capital structure, and client base which offered exposure to PNG’s growing middle class, small-to-medium enterprise sector and high net-worth individuals.
“Kina Group intends to extend its physical presence in PNG, through expanding its branch network following the acquisition,” he said.
“Providing greater access to financial services to residents in isolated areas will be critical in tapping into this growth opportunity.”
Maybank PNG was established in 1994 as a subsidiary of the largest Malaysian banking and financial services business, the Maybank Group.
It offers a range of products including loans, overdrafts, trade financing, foreign exchange, banker guarantees, current accounts, savings and fixed deposit accounts.
Yates said a key benefit for Kina Group of a full banking licence would be the lower cost of wholesale funding.

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!

O’Neill’s illegal logging: 693 days and counting…

May 18, 2015 Leave a comment

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Peter O'Neill: Theft of forest resources: Guilty

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