Opposition condemn PM's letter to Indonesian Mining company - Solomon Star News

Opposition condemn PM's letter to Indonesian Mining company
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19 October 2017
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The Prime Minister's letter written to the controversial Indonesian Company Bintang carrying out bauxite mining on Rennell Island.

THE Parliamentary Opposition Group has strongly condemned a letter published in the media written by the Prime Minister to an Indonesian company.

The media last week released a letter written by Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare to controversial Indonesian Company Bintang which operated bauxite mining on Rennel Island.

In a statement today, the Opposition said the response by the Prime Minister was ‘lame’ as the letter by the Prime Minister to Bintang is not only ‘fishy’ but also raises a lot of questions than answers.

“Any letter to acknowledge investors for their contributions to the country should be done by the ministry responsible and not necessarily from the Prime Minister. When a Prime Minister writes directly to an investor it raises a lot of questions of integrity and personal interests with the company. How many other foreign and even local investors have the Prime Minister written to them to acknowledge them? Maybe none.” it said.

The statement added this also raised a lot of questions surrounding the Prime Minister’s own interests with the Indonesian company, after the media released text messages revealing the Prime Ministers connection with Bintang in January this year.

“This was the same Indonesian company the Prime Minister personally sent a text message in assuring its executive of his Government’s solidarity and that they will grant zero duty to the company in January this year,” it said.

The Opposition Group said the Prime Minister’s history with the Indonesian company is not new and is highly suspicious.

Meanwhile, the Opposition has also urged the Prime Minister to explain a letter in the media by his former SSPM which revealed that Bintang has no legal contract with the Government.

Former SSPM Andrew Muaki in his letter in the media stated that APID is the one that has a mining lease with the government on Rennell.

“APID engaged Bintang to mine the bauxite on its behalf. In simple legal terms, the government has no relationship with Bintang and vice versa. The government only has business relationship with APID. Hence, official communications regarding bauxite mining should be addressed to APID,” Mr Muaki wrote in his letter.

The Opposition also described a response by APID in Monday’s Solomon Star in trying to defend the Prime Minister as ‘shocking’.

“It is suspicious that the Indonesian company has come out publicly to defend the Prime Minister and to confirm that the letter from the Prime Minister to the company was personal. The Prime Minister really needs to clarify his interests with the Indonesian company,” it said.

Therefore, the Opposition said the Prime Minister’s connection to Bintang appears to be more than what meets the eye.

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