Dear Editor – Please allow me to contribute to an article on the above topic authored by George Fafale who is the late Martin Magga’s acquaintance.
However, my contribution will be restricted on the basis of my involvement as the Secretary of the Temotu Pele Shipping Line Ltd (TPSL).
Generally, the issue of the sale of MV Sunrise1 became public knowledge last year when Facebook users who subscribe with the so-called ‘Pele Forum’ toss around the question of the sale among their members for information’s as they were curious about the sale.
However, I could recall coming out in this paper at the time and explained why the sale was necessary etc.
The matter was further debated when another writer raised issues that needed to be responded to and later the matter was then rested.
Surprisingly, in October of last year 2014 a letter was published implying that the sale of the vessel was unauthorised therefore illegal.
I was later being informed as I was implicated with Mr Fafale of the sale. Obviously, I thought the author must be day dreaming because much of what he was questioning was discussed when I responded to questions raised by Pele Forum Facebook users as mentioned above.
However, due to the fact that I was at home at the time I was unable to respond.
Furthermore, I thought it was unnecessary to discuss anything further on the matter since there was nothing fishy about the whole issue; hence the prolonged reply.
But, it was evident on the sale documents that the ‘seller’ was Martin Magga and the ‘purchaser’ was Segeo Shipping Company Ltd and we were witnesses to the contract.
However, as the Secretary of the board my involvement was necessary to assist Mr Magga with the paper work because of his health conditions.
By the way, who in his right mind would want to challenge sale unless you’re an expert in challenging issues which you don’t have anything to do with it and earn money out of the matter (sounds like some people who are familiar to us).
However, I could recall using this medium often to express certain issues regarding the operations of the ship until I was requested by Mr Magga to assist Mr Fafale to register the company.
I simply accepted the request to ensure that the right thing is done.
However, we discovered that there were many things that are not properly done; one of which was Pele Shipping Company Ltd (PSC) was never registered under the new Company Haus Act, which came into force in 2010.
Basically, this Act requires all companies operating in the country to be re-registered, however the Board of PSC Ltd failed to comply with the Act which renders PSC operations null & void.
In fact, the vessel was only registered with the Marine division.
In conclusion, allow me to reiterate few things raised by Mr Fafale in his letter.
Firstly, the decision to sell the ship was initially made by Mr Magga as the owner.
I am aware that TPSL board members spent some time discussing the issue as we explore available opportunities for the vessel’s survival.
As a secretary, I was always present at our meetings/discussions to take minutes and I can confirm Daniel Laka is among board members who are always absent as he seems to be busy everyday with his private business.
Therefore, the logic behind his claim that the sale was unauthorised is simple; he was acting on somebody’s crafty advice.
It is interesting to note that the vessel was operated by PSC Ltd board and it’s no different from ships obtained by Members of Parliament during their tenure, the MV Eastern Trader, MV Belama, MV Bikoi, MV Haorosi, to name a few.
The question is, what did people do to challenge the ownership or the sale (if any)?
Frankly, as members of the Board of TPSL Ltd Daniel Laka and Willie Talua were fully aware of the sale as they received their sitting allowances paid to them after the first instalment payment was made by the purchaser.
The question is, if they think the sale was illegal, why didn’t they question it in the first instance?
Why did they receive their allowances and few months later regard the sale as illegal? Is it logic to say that the allowance they received was illegal?
Simply, what these men are trying to do is creating a scenario of confusion to spend money on and at the end of the day their lawyers have nothing to lose whilst they create an issue that will destroy their future.
I mean, why institute a legal proceeding on the sale when you were part of the discussion and the first one to engage an interested buyer mentioned by Mr Fafale in his letter?
Finally, after returning from home last December I was curious therefore enquire and was told that the two men had discussions with Segeo Shipping Company officials and demanded that they pay them half the initial price of five hundred thousand dollars which means the MV Sunrise1 would now cost one million dollars.
When I heard that I almost fainted because I have never heard such a deal and especially after Mr Magga passed away.
Some people are trying to steal money from what he already sold.
You know, sometimes people don’t realise how they became entangled and look foolish but this scenario is different in that the two men created their own foolishness and stupidity.
They even insisted to Segeo officials that the vessel should be leased to them. I mean, who are you to negotiate such deals without people whom Mr Magga worked with, this is ridiculous.
Anyway, I later realised that such actions ensued due to desperation and I tend to agree with Mr Fafale’s closing statement quote, ‘the reclaim of MV Sunrise1 is like a plot to rob a commercial Bank in the middle of Mendana Avenue, unfortunately this time it’s a Shipping Company. And I also add that the desperation of some men can drive them crazy to the extent that you don’t need to earn or own an asset and still can earn millions of dollars”.