Dear Editor – In the last two weeks of January and the first two weeks of this month (February), I was kept busy preparing and organizing White River Community High School to begin our year program.
Despite a few hiccups to our school successful preparation cause by a few ignorant pupils who tried to disadvantage what I was doing for the good of our school, students, teachers and our White River Community, we have already started our academic program regardless.
At the time I was being kept busy with school matters I had not read many newspapers until recently I was given a copy of the Solomon Star Issue No.6829 of Thursday 15 February, 2018 that had an article with this title: Bintan refutes ‘fraud’ assertion.
The article by a ghost from Bintan Mining was a respond to an earlier article by D. Lavy who attacks Bintan and APID for participating in alleged fraudulent activities that resulted in their poor mining operation on West Rennell.
It is quite interesting that much earlier than the article by D. Lavy I have posted a few articles in the print media making the same claim but have not received any response from Bintan Mining minor and APID or their cronies until they respond to Lavy.
Now regarding Bintan-APID fraud allegations, here are a few examples to demonstrate evidence of our claim against the mining minor:
- Asia Pacific Investment Development (APID) is a registered logging company in 2008 according to the Company Haus record in which the Commissioner of Forests granted her a felling license to operate in the registered islands of Shortland.
- APID also used the same company name to apply for a prospecting licence for mining in West Rennell that the Mines and Mineral Board granted and issued her PL 04/08 on 5 December 2008.
- The granting of a prospecting license to a logging company (APID) that had no mining experience and expertise contravene Part IV, Section 19(a) of the Mines and Mineral Act.
- Having no financial backing as her logging operation in the Western Solomons was challenged by Treasury Timber who lend APID logging machineries and equipment made a huge claim of her shares of the export, APID also stopped the work she began on West Rennell in which her Project Manager Solomon Maui paid out $20,000 each to the 12 communities he identified on West Rennell because APID had no money.
- After APID successfully contested her case with Treasury Timber, she scooped a little bit more than SBD$10 million from her export sometimes in 2011 but in that same year too, the tenure of her PL04/08 was also expired.
- Realizing that the tenure of her PL04/08 lapsed on 4th December, 2011, APID quickly applied for an extension to her prospecting license and deceitfully include an area she claim to be Tenement B instead of reducing her Tenement A of 560 square kilometers to half as required by the Mines Act for failing to complete her work in the three years granted in the first application.
- The lame excuse provided by APID to the Mines & Mineral Board for failing to complete her prospecting work in the three years earlier granted (APID never do any prospecting work during the three years granted) was “her (APID) financial difficulties due to the global economic crises”, which in fact APID financial difficulties was due to the court case imposed by Treasury Timber against her that resulted in her share of the logs export (shipment) being on hold by the court.
- APID application for an extension was however granted by the MMB on 16th November, 2011 for 12 months (1 year), which take the lifespan of PL04/08 to 4th December 2012. This granting however raises a few fundamental legal issues as it appears to contravene Section24 (1) of the Mines Act.
- The irony of the MMB granting an extension to PL04/08 was that, instead of reducing APID PL04/08 Tenement A to half of the 560square kilometers originally granted to her that lapsed on the 4th December 2011 according to Section 24(2) of the Mines Act, her prospecting tenement increased to 1,200 square kilometers (Tenement A&B).
The brief history of how APID, a logging company converted into mining in the year it was registered as a logging company speaks volume of the “fraud assertion” a few of us, the informed ones made should give you BINTAN MINING Minor and your cohorts tips of the ice berg of the collaboration between Ray Chu that owns 99% of APID and some government corrupt officers to breach the law of this country; an illegal move and network that I always call for full investigation by a Commission of Enquiry or by the JANUS TASK FORCE.
Another example to back up my assertion of APID orchestrated move that resulted in the government controversial registration of West Rennell, APID failed to abide by the Mines & Mineral Board of 12th June, 2014 meeting resolutions that before mining lease be granted:
1. More awareness to the landowners is needed so that they are fully aware of what is happening.
2. Third party such as SOPAC, SPC or Commonwealth Secretariat need to review the application and feasibility study of APID.
3. Land identification and acquisition is required to identify the true land owners for the purpose of surface access rights.
The MMB meeting of 26th June, 2014 upholds the resolutions they passed in their meeting of 12th June, 2014.
The MMB meeting of 2nd September, 2014 further resolved to uphold their decision on the 12th June, 2014 that requires APID to fulfill the three conditions stated above that in my knowledge APID failed miserably to follow; yet the Minister of Mines of the Manasseh Sogavare led DCCG dictate the mining process by granting APID mining lease application against the MMB resolutions.
Readers need to take note that at later stages Manasseh Sogavare sent a private text message to Bintan Mining to assure them of his government support during the height of a proposed “No Confidence Motion”, this was not the motion that ousted Sogavare but a much earlier one that has never been tabled.
Also readers need to note that the Sogavare led government granted Bintan Mining minor the right to export the tons of bauxite the government seized from PT Mega Bintan for free, which in my view is the most unethical decision DCCG did to the people of Solomon Islands.
In two of my articles I went to an extent of challenging Gabriel Suri, the former Attorney General to defend APID’s alleged breached of the laws of our country to come up clean with his legal advice to APID, a registered logging company in 2008 in the Company Haus.
The questions I would like Bintan Mining minor or APID and their sympathizers to answer:
1. How many awareness programs did APID logging or Bintan Mining organized for the public of West Rennell and Rennell Bellona Province because many of us the true land owners of West Rennell have never been informed of any awareness program?
2. What were the medium used by APID logging and Bintan Mining to provide awareness to the public of Rennell and Bellona because I have not seen one being advertised on the radio and the printed media or being invited to any awareness meeting?
3. When did SOPAC, SPC or Commonwealth Secretariat as third party revise APID feasibility study of West Rennell to confirm that her (APID) report of mineral deposit on the island was true because as far as I’m concerned APID only reproduced Mitsui Mining Company report of the 70s.
4. When did APID and her appointed acquisition officer, Penrose Palmer, identified the true land owners of West Rennell because many land cases that are still pending in court for their determinations were also included in PN 298-005-1?
And finally but not the least, can APID and her contractor Bintan (SI) Mining Limited and their legal advisors explain publicly if it is alright by law to register areas already registered as Perpetual Estate be registered again with a different PE Title?
As far as I know the areas registered by the Commissioner of Lands (without the Lands Board approval) as PN 298-005-1 that he sub-leased to APID with full grant of profits covers areas that already registered under the name of Rennell Bellona Province, Ngakea Tribe, Sigiabagu Tribe and the Tigoa Landowners Association and it is highly suspicious as the reason why the Commissioner of Lands who signed APID appointed Acquisition Officer’s (Penrose Palmer) report failed to identify those areas need explanation.
There is also a land case between my family and Dicter Maitaki-Solomon Maui family being registered in the Local Court in 1999 and that case is still pending in the court; but surprisingly the lands in LC1/99 were included in PN: 298-005-1 without my knowledge as the plaintiff of the case.
Tepuke R. Pautangata
USP Law Student