THE outgoing Permanent Secretary (PS) for Mines, Jeffery Kauha said his removal from office was influenced by certain Minister within the Cabinet.
These are same Ministers who influenced Cabinet’s decision in reshuffling two Ministers and the whole Rennell mining saga it was alleged.
“These well respected leaders have tied up link with some Mining companies who have interest for mineral deposits in the country,” said Kauha.
PMO Media Consultant, Alfred Sasako denied influence of any Cabinet Minister to the removal of Jeffery Kauha yesterday.
“I do not know precisely, there could be or not,” he said.
Sasako said, if the decision is from the Cabinet, it’s at their level which he is not in a position to influence it.
There could be a reason behind his removal and that be the right of the employer to hire and fire as he is under contract, explained Sasako.
“Whether he is not performing as expected or for other reasons, it’s the employer’s prerogative.”
Asked whether this is part of connection to the whole Rennell mining saga, he was reluctant to comment but said, “I cannot establish that there is a connection but there is understanding that there are certain people who would like to use such situation as scapegoats for counter attack.”
But the outgoing PS, Kauha revealed his firm position on the PT Mega Bintang Borneo issue, its associate mining companies including the halt of Solomon Bauxite to land its machines on Wagina prompt the Ministers to openly push in Cabinet and Caucus for his removal.
Kauha explained background to the issue that P T Mega Bintang Borneo has no valid mining lease to mine on Rennell Island.
“The former Minister of Mines granted the Mining Lease even when the Board rejected the application earlier in 2014.
“Recently, Bintang forged the Director of Mines’ signature in an attempt to deceive Customs to allow the company to get clearance to travel to Rennell and ship out its stockpile on Rennell Island.”
The Permanent Secretary said, he was made aware of this forged permit and directed the Director of Mines to verify the documents with Customs and that is when it was confirmed that these are forged documents.
“Just recently, Cabinet made a decision and agreed to allow PT Mega Bintang to export its stockpile bauxite ore on Rennell Island based on common sense and advice from Attorney General.”
Mr. Kauha said, he was deeply concerned that legal advices from the Office of the Attorney General are not always consistent.
“This must be a concern for the state as well.
“The last thing we want to see is a poor legal advice emanating from the office of the Attorney General making the government vulnerable and subject to legal challenges.”
Kauha highlighted the permit issued for export of bauxite stock pile to PT Mega Bintang Borneo as a fault.
He added questioning the legal position on the ownership of the bauxite stockpile on Rennell Island.
“Common sense tells us that these do not belong to Bintang.”
“PT Mega Bintang Borneo never had a valid mining lease, Bintang is illegally operating to extract these bauxite ores and these bauxite ores or soils are safely sitting on land and must belong to somebody, but definitely not Bintang’s.
“Where is the wisdom here,” he questioned again.
By BRADFORD THEONOMI