Orica, one of the leading publicly-owned companies listed on the Australian Stock Exchange, is operating on land outside Port Moresby acquired through illegal Special Agriculture Business Leases (SABLs), according to local landholders.
The accusations have come from the people of Papa village, close to the Exxon Mobil LNG site, who have seen their land illegally occupied for quarrying and provision of other LNG support services. The villagers are now demanding their land be given back.
SABL leases are at the centre of a huge land grab in PNG in which more than 5 million hectares of land has been illegally acquired from customary landowners. A government instigated Commission of Inquiry, which reported in 2013, found almost all the leases are unlawful with widespread instances of fraud and a general failure by government Departments to follow proper procedures.
According to the Commission of Inquiry, the land on which Orica is said to be operating, Portions 2465C and 2485C, was acquired through “misrepresentation and fraud” [SABL Commission of Inquiry Final Report at p164] and the forging of landholders signatures “was a criminal act” [at p151]. The lease was “fraudulent and improper” [at p156] and government officers “deliberately decided to ignore and by-pass the existing protocols and practices” in a process “riddled with defects and flaws” [at p157].
The Commission of Inquiry called for those responsible for the unlawful leases to be held to account and recommended the SABLs be revoked. [SABL Commission of Inquiry Final Report p 143-166 and p166-174. See also SABL Case Study 11: The Kassman family and their fraudulent LNG Land deals]
The PNG government has promised several times since 2013 to cancel all the SABL leases and return land to customary landholders, but has so far failed to implement those promises.
Orica claims on its website “Our commitment to the safety, health and wellbeing of … the communities in which we operate underpins everything we do”. But the people of Papa want Orica off their land and on Thursday they held a peaceful protest march to the premises where Orica and another company, Longevity Commitment Reliability Group operate.
The Papa landholders are calling on the government to honour its promises and take action quickly to formally cancel the special agriculture business leases over their land.
Chairman of the local integrated lands group Vanemate, Joseph Baeau, said Parliament had already moved to cancel all SABLs and revert the titles back the landowners therefore the companies should not still be on their land.
“We the people and all other concerned landowners in Papa village carried out this protest to fight for our land and also make awareness on the status of land leases,” Mr Baeau said.
“We are calling on the Minister responsible to fast track all formalities to effect cancellation and notices to illegal lease holders,” Mr Baeau said.
Orica is one of Australia’s oldest companies and is, it claims, the global leader in mining and civil services, with a workforce of around 11,500, servicing customers across more than 100 countries.
Today is international human rights day, and the United Nations, USAid and AusAID are inviting us all to celebrate in the home of PNG’s worst human rights abuser, Rimbunan Hijau.
Vision City is a glittering monument to the human rights abuses, illegal logging, land grabbing and environmental destruction heaped on PNG for over 25 years by its owner, the Malaysian logging giant RH.
The Vision City celebration is being sponsored by the CIMC, AusAID and USAid, who all like to trumpet their supposed opposition to corruption and belief in human rights – what a joke!
Rimbunan Hijau’s abuses have been documented in numerous reports and investigations including by the Ombudsman Commission, SABL Commission of Inquiry, World Bank, Greenpeace, Global Witness and Oakland Institute and SBS.
Malaysian illegal logger and politician repays O’Neill for keeping SABL with 8 new town houses valued AT K1 million each
By PAULUS PARAKA – PNG Blogs
Out at Waigani, behind the new National Conference Centre, a large residential village of 50 or so duplexes is being built by the little known foreign company Jaya & Berjaya Construction (PNG) Ltd.
Jaya & Berjaya is owned by Malaysian tycoon, politician and illegal logger Huang Tiong Sii, who in his many years of doing business here has made many valuable friends and contacts in high places. None comes higher than the Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, and that is probably why Tiong has given him four of the duplexes, a total of eight town houses, to use as his own.
O’Neill recently visited the development to look over his gift, which is a valuable addition to his large and ill-gotten real estate portfolio, and expressed his satisfaction and gratitude to Tiong. The townhouses are valued at a minimum of K1 million each, so the total value of the gift to O’Neill could be as high as K8 million.
It is not known whether O’Neill intends to take the rent from the houses or to sell them and keep the proceeds. The Prime Minister has substantial real estate interests in PNG and Australia (on the Gold Coast and in Sydney where the properties are in other people’s names) and he was recently looking to buy penthouses in New York. Huang Tiong Sii is well known in Malyasia as a criminal warlord and politician who has family and business connections to Rimbunan Hijau and other illegal loggers. He is also a money-launderer through companies in the Cayman Islands.
He has substantial logging interests in PNG, including SABLs, which is believed to be the reason for his generosity towards the Prime Minister (in the same way Tiong was generous to former Prime Minister Michael Somare). O’Neill has repeatedly promised in recent years to cancel all SABLs. He told Parliament in 2013: “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”.
But O’Neill has too much to gain from loggers like Tiong and Rimbunan Hijau, especially with his 2017 election campaign already under way and demand for cash to bribe the Electoral Commission, the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary, other candidates, voters, criminal gangs, the mainstream media and so on. Tiong’s tactics in Malaysia (mainly Sarawak) are similar to those used by O’Neill – including bribery of politicians, police and other government officials on a vast scale, and intimidation and physical violence against landowners. They make a good partnership, with many interests and activities in common.
The promises from Prime Minister Peter O’Neill keep coming, but we are still waiting to see ANY ACTION to reverse the huge SABL land grab; still waiting to see ANY ACTION to return the land to customary landholders; and, still waiting to see ANY ACTION to stop the illegal logging in SABL areas.
It is now 1,260 days since the reports of the SABL Commission Inquiry which detail the widespread fraud and mismanagement that has allowed foreign logging companies to gain illegal access to over 5 million hectares of land.
Since June 2013, almost three-and-a-half years ago, O’Neill has REPEATEDLY promised us the leases will be canceled and illegal logging stopped.
In September 2013, O’Neill said in 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 supposedly 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”
In 2015 the Chief Secretary stated:
“It is widely known that vast amounts of pristine forest have been logged to enrich a corrupt few people, while landowners have unknowingly lost their most valuable asset – their land”.
And just a few weeks ago, on November 4, O’Neill told Parliament and the Nation:
“I am pleased to say that all the SABL leases to be cancelled, instruction has now gone to the Lands Dept and as of today I can assure you that leases are now being cancelled and where there are projects now existing, we’ve encouraged the landowners to renegotiate many of those leases arrangements that they have made with the developers.
“These leases were given without much thought in the past. As a result, a lot of the landowners stood to lose all their years of generations of ownership over the land that they have had for many years.
“We do not want the rightful landowners lose their rights to land.
“That is why we have instructed the department of Lands and Forestry to cancel all the SABL.”
But, despite all the promises, no action has been taken to cancel the leases, landowners are receiving no support from the government in their battles against the land grabbing and WE ARE STILL WAITING for the logging to be stopped.
For 1,260 days O’Neill has failed to ensure the SABL leases are revoked and has been complicit in the illegal logging of our forests by foreign logging companies.
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has aided and abetted the theft of logs worth hundreds of million of Kina and the destruction of thousands of hectares of pristine forest.
Recent media reports say a Chinese company, Jaba Joint Development, is illegally dredging for gold on the Jaba river in Bougainville.
It is claimed Jaba Joint Development was allowed into the Panguna area by the Autonomous Bougainville Government and its suspect Commerce Minister, Fidelis Semoso, originally to make bricks, but has now set up a substantial gold dredging operation.
Bougainville News has quoted local landowners as saying Jaba Joint Development is 95% Chinese owned with a small minority interest held by ‘certain landowners’ and the ABG.
Official company records, however, show a rather different ownership picture involving New Zealander Liqun Pan, Bougainville local, Chris Dendai and links to Hong Kong, Australia and the British Virgin Islands as well as property in both Cairns and Auckland.
Jaba Joint Development Limited was registered with the Investment Promotion Authority in Port Moresby, in November 2014.
According to IPA records, the company is owned by two individuals, Chris Dendai and Liqun Pan, a New Zealand citizen. They are also the company directors. Dendai and Pan each holds 50% of the shares in Jaba Joint Development.
Interestingly, although the IPA shows Dendai and Pan as the shareholders of Jaba Joint Development, in the original application to register the company two different shareholders were proposed: Tumpusiong Resources Limited and a Hong Kong registered, Chinese company, Timesview Resources Development Limited.
Tumpusiong Resource Limited is a PNG registered company with 14 men listed as shareholders, including Chris Dendai, all from Darenai village in the Panguna region of Bougainville. According to its filed annual returns, Tumpusiong is a company that is involved in brick making.
Timesview Resources was registered in Hong Kong on 26 November 2014, the same date as the application to register Jaba Joint Development in PNG was made. Timesview Resources was deregistered in Hong Kong in August 2016.
Timesview Resources was majority owned by Timesview International Group, which has Liqun Pan listed as a minority shareholder. The largest shareholder in TIG is Chuen Hing Petroleum & Chemicals Holdings Limited – a company registered in the British Virgin Islands.
Documents filed with the IPA in Port Moresby do not show how or when the ownership of Jaba Joint Development was switched from Tumpusiong Resources and Timesview Resources Development to Chris Dendai and Liqun Pan, which prompts the question whether the people of Darenai village are aware of the switch?
Liqun Pan, who remember holds half the shares in Jaba Joint Development, has a registered address at 4 Bramley Drive, Farm Cove in the south Auckland suburb of Manakau and is also the owner of two New Zealand registered companies; Niae Trustee, with Li Hui, and Cypco Biotechnology.
Liqun Pan and Li Hui also own the Australian registered company Niae Pty Limited and together own a home in Cairns, North Queensland. No. 4 Finchley Close in the suburb of Redlynch was purchased by Pan and Hui in May 2013 for $570,000.
Liqun Pan and Li Hui are also connected through their joint ownership of Inae Limited, a company registered in the British Virgin Islands. That connection is revealed in the ‘Panama Papers’ leaked from the now infamous law firm Mossack Fonseca…
Can anyone explain how Liqan Pan and Chris Dendai ended up running an allegedly illegal gold dredging operation on the Jaba river?
Source: Gabriel Thoumi – ValueWalk
In December 2012, Kuala Lumpur Kepong Berhad (KLK) bought 51% of the equity in Collingwood Plantations Pte (CWB) via KLK Overseas Investments Limited for $8.7 million. At the time, according to AmInvesment Bank, the assumed production costs from clearing to palm oil production for the new plantation were $6,000 per ha.
In KLK’s 2013 Annual Report, the company estimated that it would develop 30,000 ha of oil palm in Collingwood Bay. The area is known for its pristine primary forests and coral reefs, containing high levels of biodiversity. Prior to KLK’s entry, the Collingwood Bay Indigenous communities had secured a court order that prohibited all natural resource related national government agencies from entering the bay without the landowners’ prior consent.
Collingwood Bay’s Indigenous communities successfully contested KLK’s plantation plans in the Papua New Guinea courts, which declared KLK’s two main leases null and void in May 2014.
In October, KLK confirmed that it has withdrawn all interest in the development of two portions of customary land (Portion 113C and 143C) in Collingwood Bay. A smaller third State Land portion – Lot 5 which is 5,992 ha – is still being reviewed, according to KLK. Without access to the other lots, however, it is uncertain if the size of Lot 5 is economically feasible to develop on its own because it also mostly covered with primary and High Carbon Stock forest.
In a statement KLK publicly committed to sell off by December 2016 its land clearing equipment stored in Wanigela, Collingwood Bay and confirmed that KLK and / or its agents will exclude the cultivation of palm oil as a development option on Lot 5. Concerns remain, however, if the land-clearing machinery is sold to KLK Overseas Investments Limited joint venture partner ANG Agro Forest Management to facilitate logging and other activities in the primary forests of Lot 5.
KLK has not clarified its overall plans for its overall $8.7 million investment Collingwood Plantations Pte, its total land bank of 44,342 ha in the region or its 37,000 ha plantation deal in Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea. According to agronomists and a 1992 government soil survey, the Sepik Province plantation deal is on land that has been found to be unsuitable for tree crops.