THE claim made by Dicter Maitaki in the Island Sun issue 1911 of Friday 20 February that Asia Pacific Investment Development (APID) has overwhelming support from the true land owners of Rennell is a bluff.
Further, the list of so-called true land owners that Maitaki claimed to represent the landowners of Ward 4, Ward 5 and Ward 6, which also form the West Rennell Land Owners Council, published in the same Island Sun issue and the Solomon Star issue 5746 of Friday 20 February, is absolutely rubbish and nonsense.
The public need to be properly informed that Maitaki and his published list claimed that they are the true land owners of Rennell and his formation of a landowner’s council is absurdity according to our Rennell cultural norm.
This is because land ownership in Rennell is more or less individual; although tribes and families is the channel in which land ownership is being handed out or distributed to individuals.
In fact, the true land owners of Rennell are yet to be identified, which can only happen if the island is properly acquired according to the law of the land.
This means that the true landowners in APID’s tenement are yet to be identified; as APID has never acquired her tenement, a task that she should have done in day one when she was granted a prospecting license in 2008.
This supports then my argument that Maitaki’s wild claimed that APID mining operation in Rennell has the overwhelming support of the true land owners of Rennell is nothing more than a joke.
However, I guess that APID’s failure to acquire the lands in her tenement must be a deliberate action taken under the guidance and advised of her local Rennellese agent Solomon Maui who knew very well that if APID proceed with the acquisition of her tenement, she would never mine Rennell because there would be an increase of land disputes.
Listed below are some of the land cases against a few of those that Mr Maitaki claimed to be the true landowners of Rennell; and a few other land cases against those outside his circle that were instigated by Chief Kemuel Tepai Giumatangi of Niteni Tribe before he peacefully passed in 2000.
Interestingly, APID include those lands that are before the court in her tenement without consulting me that took over the court cases from my late father Chief Giumatangi; a decision he made it known to the West Rennell Council of Chiefs in 1998 (written copy of Chief Giumatangi’s will is with me that I will only exhibit it in court if anyone want to challenge my position as the successor of him as the chief of Niteni Tribe).
1. Chief Kemuel Tepai Giumatangi of Niteni Tribe versus Chief Zebuland Taugenga of Ngakea Tribe (Kanaba District in Central Rennell) land case over Magamaitonga areas and Hanakaba areas that is still to be heard by the Rennell Bellona Local Court; a case that I registered on behalf of Chief Giumatangi in the local court in 1999 (Treasury Receipt No. B709840).
2. Chief Kemuel Tepai Giumatangi of Niteni Tribe versus Chief Timotheus Ngatonga of Sigiabagu-Te’ana Tribe over Teutua road; a case that I registered in the Central Island Customary Appeal Court (CICLAC) in 1998 over a logging proposal by Wickly Sibolo Taungaika and the Indispensible Logging Limited in 1997.
3. Chief Kemuel Tepai Giumatangi of Niteni Tribe versus Chief Norman Sa’oghatogha of Kaagua-Magautu over Tematiga areas and the areas between Naone road down west to Magautu road; a case in 1998 that Giumatangi and Sa’oghatogha agree to settle it out of court but did not eventuate until Giumatangi passed away in 2000.
4. Chief Kemuel Tepai Giumatangi of Niteni Tribe versus Elder Eliot Tepai Hukatai of Segena Tribe over Lughighi road and areas (currently I have filed this case in the Matangi (Bellona) Council of Chiefs ); a case that Hukatai instigated in 1994 but he never pursued it until Chief Giumatangi was called to rest.
5. Chief Kemuel Tepai Giumatangi of Niteni Tribe versus Chief Dothan Teikahoki of Hagekumi Tribe over Hanakaba in north east of Niteni areas; a case proposed for the West Rennell Council of Chief in 1997 but has never happened.
6. Chief RT Pautangata Hakatigisa’a of Niteni Tribe versus Springhill Ltd, a logging company that the elders of Sigiabagu-Te’ana Tribe granted them concession to log areas from Oneaghugha road down to Te’ana road. The case is still pending in the Central Island Customary Land Appeal Court (CICLAC) since I registered it on the 7th January, 2013 (National Treasury Receipt No’s. B1617917/18).
7. James Teika’ugua Moa & Vexy Pautangata Maungasua of Honohono-Hutuna Tribe versus Springhill Ltd and their grantors (Gad Sa’onuku, Wickly Sibolo & John Putuika); a case that our legal counsel, Mr. Nelson Laurere registered in the High Court as Case No. 282/14, which has be adjourned in the High Court for the third time to be heard on the 26th February, 2015. In fact the two cannot sign APID’s paper without informing me as a party to the Honohono-Hutuna Tribe lands through the CLAC (CI) decision that awarded some of the tribe’s land to my late mother Bizor Tebegi.
These court cases are a few examples of the many court cases that are yet to be settled in the areas covered by APID in her tenement that should warrant the Mines and Mineral Board to suspend APID’s mining lease for investigation, if the Democratic Coalition for Change Government (DCCG) is serious about her promised to fight corruption head on.
For the interest of those that follow the issue of mining in Rennell, I have already sent hard copies of my disputes and court cases (hand deliver) to the Director of Mines, Peter Auga, the Commissioner of Forest, Reeves Moveni and the Chief Magistrate, Emmanuel Kouhota through their registries that I hope they must have received them and informed their respective officers of the appropriate action to take; although I’m still waiting to receive their responses.
However, if APID’s management, the Director of Mines, the Commissioner of Lands and Dicter Maitaki, the land coordinator of APID in Rennell, failed to take note of my above court cases and exclude the areas in APID’s tenement, I’m preparing a court case to challenge them for contempt of court, and to challenge their inclusion of lands that are yet to be acquired in APID’s tenement.
In brief, like PT Mega Bintang Borneo, APID’s mining operation in Rennell is illegal.
Further, the true land owners of Rennell are not those that signed the documents of the two companies or the Solomon Mining Company until the lands included in their tenements are acquired.
By acquiring the lands in Rennell one can know: who are the true land owners of Rennell, who are the land robbers, who are the land squatters and who are the land users that one like Mr Maitaki and his cohorts must learn to differentiate the different types of land ownership in Rennell.
I hope this letter serves to clear out any misunderstanding that the public may have about the kind of support APID had in Rennell and those that falsely claimed to be the true land owners of Rennell.
I’m not yet finished with my fight against the Asian miners that mined Rennell and their local cohorts in the Ministry of Mines, the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Lands and those in Renbel Province, until justice and fairness are being served for the people of Rennell and Bellona that will suffer the negative impacts of mining for the benefit of a few greedy and corrupt pupils.
By PAUTANGATA HAKATIGISA’A
St John Community High School