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.
Yesterday we exposed how a Malaysian company, Priceworth International, has signed a contract to log and clear forests in the Tonolei Block One Forest Area in the Buin district of Bougainville.
Priceworth says it has a contractual agreement with PME Niugini Ltd, a PNG incorporated company, which holds a Forest Clearance Authority giving it the rights to clear the Buin forest.
PME Niugini may be registered in PNG – but it is 100% Korean owned and has no PNG Nationals among its Directors or Shareholders.
PME Niugini Ltd was registered in PNG on 28 April 2014. The applicant for registration was one Kil Soo Chung, who claims to be a United States citizen and gives his address as PO Box 8721, Boroko, National Capital District.
The company”s registered address is Unit 5, Section 406, Allotment 4,5 & 6, Famagusta Street, Hohola, NCD
The company has two listed Directors, Kil Soo Chung himself and Byuong Houn Lee, a citizen of the Republic of Korea.
Byung Honn Lee is also the company Secretary.
PME Niugini has 20,000,000 issued shares – but only one shareholder – PME International COY LTD, a Korean company with a registered address at 62-39 # 1203 Star Tower, Sa-gi-magolo, Sung Nem City, Kyungi-Do, in the Republic of Korea.
According to a Malaysian media report a Sabah-based company called Priceworth International has signed a contract to log and clear forests in the Buin district on Bougainville: Priceworth inks logging services deal in PNG
The report says Priceworth International has entered into the agreement with PME Niugini Ltd and will provide services for logging and clearing in the Tonolei Block One Forest Area.
Priceworth International claims to have signed both a Memorandum of Understanding and Memorandum of Agreement with PME, a company incorporated in PNG. PME claims it has a Forest Clearance Authority which gives it the rights to clear the forest.