FORMER employees of Russell Island Plantation Estate Limited (RIPEL) have raised questions over the new ownership deal revealed recently with a new investor, which denied their ownership rights in the shareholding arrangement
The new shares proposed in the current ownership status, and appeared in Company Haus, shows that International Comtrade& Shipping (SI) Limited has 75.1 percent, Lavukal Investment Company Limited has 24.9 percent and another one which belongs to the workers, was nowhere to be seen.
Nationwide Limited was supposed to be the custodian of the workers share.
In a statement, former employees of RIPEL, who are still occupying the company’s properties in the Russell islands, said they were shocked to learn that their share in ownership arrangement had disappeared.
And they are demanding all the authorities involved in the issue to explain, where, how, and what happen to their share, which no longer appeared in the new arrangement.
According to documents produced by the former employees, Nationwide was the custodian of their share that does not have a legally registered association under the Trade Union act then.
According to the Company Haus certificate of year 2003 the Solomon Star had sighted, Nationwide were custodians of the share that accounts for 20% of ownership rights of RIPEL.
Investigations by the Solomon Star discovered that the 20% shares for the workers was gifted free to the RIPEL workers by ICSL and on advice at the time from the workers’ union leaders a share certificate was made in the name of Nationwide.
This explains why in 2003 RIPEL records show Nationwide holding shares in RIPEL.
However, it seems that Nationwide had no knowledge of these 20% shares and never received the RIPEL shares.
The owners of Nationwide decided to wind-up their company and close it down.
Communications from Nationwide reveal that it had never received and it had never taken up any RIPEL shares in its company books.
This means that Nationwide was never a shareholder in RIPEL.
RIPEL says it has no idea of what happened to the share certificate taken by the workers’ union leaders.
Since that share certificate has been lost and Nationwide has been deregistered, the RIPEL board of directors resolved to cancel the lost 20% shares.
This is the reason why Nationwide is no longer shown as shareholder in RIPEL.
By AATAI JOHN