Renbel’s Peseika claimed he was warned against suing the gov’t
RENBEL provincial secretary Baiabe Peseika claims he was told to withhold plans to sue the national government or get the sack.
Mr Peseika claimed the threat came from the Ministry of Provincial Government and Institutional Strengthening’s (MPGIS) legal adviser.
Mr Peseika early this week announced his province’s plan to sue the Ministry of Mines and Energy over its decision to grant Asia Pacific Investment and Development (APID) a mining licence to operate on Rennell island.
He said the province could not understand how APID got its mining licence.
Mr Peseika said at no time did the Mines and Energy board considered and approved any mining licence to APID.
“We are therefore challenging this in the High Court. I have attended eight meetings held by the mining board and never at any time was APID been granted a mining licence.”
Yesterday, Mr Peseika told the Solomon Star the legal adviser for the Ministry of Province Government verbally warned him to put a hold to his plan.
“The legal adviser told me if I continue and file the case in the High Court, I will lose my job,” he claimed.
But Mr Peseika said no amount of threat will stop him from taking the matter to the High Court.
“We are in the process of filing the case in the court,” he insisted.
“I am not doing this for my own, but for the people of Renbel.
“As the administrative head of the province, I have all the right to do that on behalf of the people and province.
“If I have to lose my job because of what I believe in, so be it.
“But I will not allow my people to suffer because of some inconsiderate individuals,” he said.
Comments are being sought with the Ministry of Provincial Government on the claims.
APID’s mining licence has been a subject of much discussion in recent weeks.
It was claimed the process through which the company obtained the licence was unprocedural and improper.
Mining licences are normally issued after a company carried out prospecting in the lease area and determined the level of mineral deposits.
APID, a joint venture company between Asians and some locals on Rennell, has never done any prospecting on the island.
Last Friday, it conducted a ground-breaking ceremony at Renbel provincial headquarters, Tingoa, signalling the beginning of its mining activities on the island.
By DENVER NEWTER