SABL4-KIMBE 09/02/2012 1
TRANSCRIPT OF PROCEEDINGS Commission of Inquiry into SABL Department of Prime Minister & NEC P O Box 639 WAIGANI. NCD Papua New Guinea
Telephone: (675) 323 7000 Facsimile : (675) 323 6478
COMMISSION OF INQUIRY INTO SABL
MR ALOIS JEREWAI COMMISSIONER
KIMBE CATHOLIC DIOSCESE HALL, KIMBE, THURDAY 9 FEBRUARY 2012 AT 1.42 P.M. (Continued from Tuesday 7 February 2012)
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[1.42 p.m]COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: Good afternoon. Mr Tusais, thank you.
MR TUSAIS: Good afternoon, Commissioner. we apologise for the late start today. We had several issues to resolve amongst various people with various interests present this afternoon. We have also being making enquiries sorry, we are scheduled to hear the matter of Lolokoru Estates this afternoon.
COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: Yes, Mr Tusais, Counsel?
MR TUSAIS: Yes, Commissioner, there was a formal opening on this matter down in Waigani. If I could perhaps revisit it with what we have learnt so far and make mention of relevant aspects of this Special Agriculture and Business Leases granted to Lolokoru Estates Limited. 10
[1.43p.m.]It seems that this has been largely confirmed that customary landowners themselves made a direct approach to New Britain Palm Oil company and NBOL to enter into a joint venture to establish a mini oil palm estate on their customary land known as Bilane Pilapila. The company and BPOL agreed to their request and has financed and is managing the initial development and upkeep of the harvesting of the fresh fruit from land known as Portion 1C Milinch of Garua in accordance with the terms and conditions of the sublease agreement with Lolokoru Estates.
Commissioner, the history of this SABL is that a direct grant was made under section 102 of the Land Act on 5 January 2005 by Mr Pepi Kimas, the then Lands 20 secretary. A grant for 45 year agriculture lease was made over Portion 1C under arrangement between the landowners and NBPOL.
The company itself Lolokoru Estates Limited current extract as at August last year revealed that the company was incorporated on 26 April 1983. Its current name Lolokoru Estate was previously known as Vagori Logging Limited until 17 September 2000 when it changed its name to Lolokoru. Lolokoru Estates Limited has a total of 30 shares at K1 each issued to the following: John Laka, a Papua New Guinean of Buludava village in Talasea holding 10 shares; John Ugava of Buludava village, Talasea, holding another 10 shares; and Blaisas Reu of Bulumuri village, Talasea, holding 10 shares. Those other shareholders, I am 30 going to read out the names of the directors also and these are relevant because as we go through evidence, it will appear that there has been some sort of change and shift in the directors and there is a bit of discord amongst this group who seem to have started out together or in partnership.
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COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: First of all, sorry Mr Tusais, the three shareholders you have just mentioned holding 10 shares each, are they holding those shares in trust?
MR TUSAIS: No, I think they hold it personally. There are about 13 directors, they are listed as John Langa of Buludava, Augustine Bulo of Buludava, John Giru of Buludava, Binda Kau of Buludava, Marcus Torea of Buludava, Lawrence Baluka of Buludava, Blasius Reu also Buludava, Joseph Ugava of Buludava, Bernard Waluka of Bangalu, Joseph Mara of Murimuri, Caspar Laka of Buludava, Ben Morimefa of Kopa village and Severin Gambu of Pangalu village, all in Talasea. At the time that the opening was made Mr Benedict Mane was the 10 company secretary but that seems to have changed, there is another person named John Pakua, who seems to be holding that position. Of the 13 directors, about three of them will be coming to give evidence in different saying different things that will become clear as the afternoon goes on. Some will take certain stands and I would rather not say what they will say.
Commissioner, as far as information the Commission had before commencing this Inquiry, the Lands Department lost its files and did not provide any documentation. We acquired or the Commission got its documentations largely from Mr Ben Mane who was company secretary and some other individuals. There is a land investigation report. We ran into this about 20 minutes ago. This 20 was provided by the local Lands officer here. This is his own copy. He found from amongst his many other papers. We will be coming to that soon. But it reveals certain things which we will talk about after perusing this document.
As for the Department of Agriculture and Livestock, there has been a nil input and involvement by this department. Oil palm developments in this province have been undertaken and run very successfully by the company that is presently operating in the province. Environment and Conservation did a comprehensive report at the invitation of the landowners and the company and there is a copy of that report sorry, there are two volumes we will be tendering them a bit later during the hearing. 30
There are no PNG Forest Authority considerations as there were no logs left to cut.
COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: That was an area already removed of the forest?
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MR TUSAIS: Yes, it was previously logged. There was secondly growth but that growth was affected I think by the El Nino effect in 1977 and somebody set fire to that area and burnt it down so there was no tree left to cut.
[1.47p.m] The Department of Environment and Conservation will then go on to the evidence of Mr Ben Mane who is the immediate past secretary and seems to have been the managing executive of Lolokoru Estate. The fourth witness is named as Lawrence Waluka who is listed as one of the directors for the company---
COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: Who we met at the site visit, yes.
MR TUSAIS: Sorry Commissioner?
COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: Who we met on the site visit. 10
MR TUSAIS: Who we met on the site, yes. The fifth witness is Mr John Laka who is listed as one of the shareholders but who seems now to take a different position opposing developments so far.
COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: He is opposed to the SABL.
MR TUSAIS: Opposed to SABL.
[1.49p.m] We will hear what he has to say. I am not too clear where he is coming from. The sixth witness is Blaisus Reu. He is also listed as a director and he is still a director and with the current establishment under the leadership of John Pakua who is the seventh witness for today. Thank you Commissioner, I am going to leave the calling of evidences to Mr Boi --- 20
COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: Mr Boi has carriage of this particular. Before Mr Boi commences with the evidence, first of all, I think, we owe an apology to everyone who are interested that we have fixed previously 9.30 and we have not commenced until this afternoon. So on behalf of the Commission of Inquiry and the Technical team, I extend my very sincere apologies to you. I understand you came from quite a distance and we conducted a site visit yesterday and I am aware of the distance. But thank you for your patience.
Number two, this Commission of Inquiry is conducted in accordance with procedural requirement that are similar to court but not exactly like court proceedings. Similar to the court, the judicial court proceedings in that we have 30 the powers of dealing with people who are not orderly in the course of the proceedings. I must warn you that I will not hesitate to exercise these powers.
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You will conduct yourselves properly, you will have your opportunity to give evidence and this evidence will be considered by myself in association with what the lawyers have to say to ensure that they are relevant to the Terms of Reference. Having said that I want to make sure that it is very clear to all of you that the Terms of Reference do not allow us to deal with what may appear to this Inquiry to be land disputes, especially customary land disputes as between yourselves. The proper venue to take that kind of a dispute is to go to the Local Land Court after you have gone through the mediation processes as required under the Land Dispute Settlement Act. If you should be aggrieved by the decision of the Local Land Court, you can proceed further to the Provincial Land Court and even 10 further to what we call a Judicial Review Proceedings before the National Court.
So the moment we detect that this could be any objections or any disagreement between parties relating to not all this particular Special Agriculture and Business Leases but others that this could be customary land dispute, we will guide you away from that so that we are strictly concerning ourselves with matters that we are here to inquire into. And those matters if I can lay them out or give an outline very briefly are whether all landowners gave their consent and those consents were given in an informed manner. In another words you have all been informed of what was intended in terms of the project or development that you wanted on your land and you knowingly therefore gave your agreement for your land to be 20 incorporated into that lease so that you can carry out that development. And in the course of which we will necessarily want to look at the documents that comprises the necessarily consents.
In this Special Agriculture and Business Lease, I have noted during the site visit yesterday that this question of consent may well hinge on the different approach you had taken which was that you resolved to set aside any disputes you may have as between competing customary landowners and to proceed with the development and in the meantime resolve your customary ownership dispute. That was one of things I had noticed yesterday. It may be different when I hear people opposed to this SABL. 30
After we had looked at this aspect or even receding depending on the order of the witnesses who will be called, we will also be looking at the remaining official process leading to the grant of this particular lease. Those are the matters we are empowered to look into.
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We will also possibly be looking at what happened after you had been granted a lease. For example, the subleasing of this particular lease to a developer, either in joint partnership or in complete subleasing to a developer who you may have as in this case we noted it is the NBPOL. Those are the aspects we will look at. Having made this clear, I want to issue this guidance that when you come to give evidence please indicate those matters very clearly as to why you are either for or against this particular SABL.
[1.51p.m.] Thank you Counsel, I think that is sufficient explanation to the audience. You can proceed.
MR BOI: Thank you Commissioner. The order of evidence will be that we 10 propose to proceed, commence with the Provincial Lands officers who are the National Government agency responsible for creation of SABLs. We propose to start with the Provincial Lands officers.
COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: Please.
MR BOI: Mr Ben Madiu. Are you Ben Madiu?
[1.53 p.m] BEN MADIU, Sworn:
XN: MR BOI Q: Witness, you have to speak louder and into the microphone so that you will
be recorded for the purposes of the Inquiry. Can you tell the Inquiry your 20 name alright, your name is Ben Madiu?
A: Yes. Q: You are the Provincial Lands advisor for West New Britain Province? A: Yes. COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: Sorry, Mr Boi, can I get the second name? 30 A: Madiu, M-a-d-i-u. COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: Madiu?
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A: Yes. COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: Alright, thank you. MR BOI: How long have you been with the Department of Lands here in West New Britain?
A: I have been with the National Lands Department since 1987 until 2006 when I was transferred from the national functions to the provincial administration in 2006. I remained here until today.
Q: Did you say you transferred to the province in 2006 or you served in the 10 province?
A: I served with the national department here in the province.
Q: In the province?
A: In the province until 2006 that was a national function. 2006 after the transfer of functions to the province, I was then absolved within the Provincial Lands division with the Provincial administration.
Q: Alright in your capacity as the Provincial Lands officer and in your general duties as an officer of the Department of Lands, you are familiar with the processes and procedures in relation to the creation of Special Agriculture and Business Leases? 20
A: The concept of the Special Agriculture and Business Leases just came around but in the past with regard to this Lolokoru Estate, when I was with National Lands at that time, it was under Bilang Pila Pila in my possession.
Q: Sorry, Mr Madiu, I am interrupting but I just ask you whether you are familiar with the processes involved in the creation of a SABL?
A: Yes, very well.
Q: To your understand, can you very briefly state the process which is necessary for the creation of a SABL?
COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: Counsel, you can put it to him so that we can get that formality quickly. You can put that there are limited provisions in the Land 30 Act to start with. I can assist you quickly with that.
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MR BOI: Yes.
COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: Madiu, in your position you understand that there are very limited provisions in the Land Act and regulations to assist in the process of the issue and operation of Special Agriculture and Business Leases. Is that right?
A: That is right.
Q: Sorry, your answer?
A: That is right.
Q: And has happened elsewhere, you had been adapting the practice in relation to alienation of customary land relating to complete alienation by 10 the State of such land from the people customary landowners?
Q: And those processes including among many things obtaining of informed landowner consents?
Q: And this will ultimately lead to a report called, the land investigation report which will be submitted to the Provincial Administrator who is the authority who recommends or does not recommend the grant of Special Agriculture and Business Leases?
A: That is right. 20
Q: Now, for informed consents, you have to hold a at various times and places who are concerned and which involves the customary landowners concerned, public meetings of different types. Such as public meetings with regard to the Department of Lands, in relation to Department of Environment and Conservation, and also Department of Agriculture and Livestock, they can all be part of that public meeting. Is that right?
A: That is right.
COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: Counsel, you can take it from there.
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MR BOI: Thank you Commissioner. Mr Madiu, are you aware of the SABL known as Lolokoru Estates located on Portion 1C Milinch of Garua Fourmil of Talasea, West New Britain? Are you aware of that SABL?
A: As I said earlier on, I think this thing was done by NBPOL the Special Agriculture Business Leases. Prior to that under the Wagori Logging, I ---
Q: Mr Madiu, we will get to that. I am only asking whether you are aware of the existence of this SABL?
A: Yes, I am.
Q: Was your office, the Lands Department here in West New Britain, was your office involved in any way in the creation of this SABL? 10
A: I cannot remember any the SABL I think it was done by NBPOL.
Q: Was the Lands Department asked to be involved in the processes leading to the creation of this SABL?
COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: Perhaps Counsel you could ask him, were you involved in any land investigation prior to the grant of this SABL and would you know who had been involved in any land investigation? If any was conducted in relation to this SABL?
A: The original land investigation was done by our officer Kasen Dumui, back in 1980s. That was under Wagori Logging.
Q: What was the purpose of that particular land investigation? 20
A: I think Kasen will be in a better position to answer that.
Q: Is in line to be called?
MR BOI: Yes, Commissioner.
COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: Very well, go ahead.
MR BOI: You are not aware of any investigation. In a normal SABL process following the land investigation report, there is a section 11 head lease signed between the landowners and the State leasing the land to the State for it to be leased back. That is a section 11 lease. Are you familiar with that?
A: Sorry, can you come again please?
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COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: Are you familiar with section 11 of the Land Act pursuant to which grant can be made of these kinds of leases?
MR BOI: That is the lease which is signed by the landowners leasing the land to the State for the State to then grant a lease back to the landowners, give a title. You are familiar with that lease; you agree with that?
Q: Are you aware that there was a section 11 lease signed between the landowners and the State making the land available to the State to be leased back? You are not aware that there is such an agreement they 10 signed or not?
A: I am not aware of when it was signed.
[2.08p.m] COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: If one was signed, you are just not aware of it?
MR BOI: Very well. Commissioner, those are the only questions I have for this witness. He seems to be not involved in the Lands or as far as he is concerned, he is not aware of any LIR had been given with section 11 lease.
COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: What is the date of the issue of this particular SABL?
MR BOI: 5th of January 2005. It is a direct grant to Lolokoru Estates. 5th of 20 January.
COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: 5th not 6th?
MR BOI: 5th of January 2005.
COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: Right. Was that when he was in office here?
MR BOI: Yes, he said he was here when in 2006---
COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: Although under the national function at the time?
MR BOI: Yes.
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COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: I will just pose a number of questions to him. Mr Madiu, you were in office although under the national functions at that time?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: And ordinarily, would you not be in a position where this would have come to your attention during the processing towards the grant of this lease?
Q: Ordinarily, before the grant of this lease, these matters would have come to your attention?
A: Exactly. 10
Q: Did they come to your attention?
A: I cannot remember.
Q: You cannot remember. You were saying earlier to questions by Counsel that you believed the NBPOL carried out the land investigation. Could you expand on it?
A: I would normally, if it would have come to our office at that time, I would remember. But I have not seen any of those coming through so my officer at that time and still Kasen Dumui agreed with me that this investigation for Special Agriculture Business Lease might have been done by NBPOL.
Q: So you are just assuming that that may have been the case because you did 20 not see it come through you?
A: That is right.
Q: Okay. Counsels, I do not think we can take this witness any further than as it is.
MR BOI: Yes, Commissioner. May this witness be excused?
COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: Yes, he can be excused subject to---
MR BOI: Yes, may this witness be excused.
COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: Alright Mr Madiu, thank you very much for coming this afternoon. You are excused for the time being but please remain
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attentive to the proceedings here because we will be dealing with other Special Agricultural and Business Leases also. But for the time being you may step down, thank you. THE WITNESS WITHDREW
MR BOI: The next witness is Mr Kasen Dumui.
COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: How do you spell those names?
MR BOI: Kasen Dumui is spelt K-a-s-e-n.
COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: Yes. D-u-m-u-i?
MR BOI: D-u-m-u-i. 10
COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: Thank you. Have him sworn in. KASEN DUMUI, Sworn:
XN: MR BOI Q: Witness, your name is Mr Kasen Dumui? A: Yes. Q: You are a Lands officer with the West New Britain Provincial 20 Administration division of Lands? A: Yes. Q: You have been a kiap since 1975, is that correct?
Q: When the Lands function was reverted to the provinces, you applied for a position in the Lands division and won a position and you have been there since?
A: Yes, sir. 30
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Q: So as part of your duties as a Lands officer, you are familiar with the processes leading to the grant of SABLs, Special Agriculture Business Leases?
Q: You are familiar with the processes?
Q: Alright. Some of the processes are that the landowners want to have their land converted to SABLs, they approach your office, the Lands office, and if it is needed for a land investigation to be carried out after which you make a report to Lands Department following certificate of alienability 10 signed by the Provincial Administrator. Is that correct?
A: That is correct.
COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: Counsel, are you sure they are all done at once? I thought certificate of alienability comes after land investigation report.
MR BOI: It is normally attached to the land investigation report and put forward.
COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: Yes. Could you ask him what his role would have been in the process leading up to a grant?
Mr Dumui, in your position as you have described just now, what would have been your role in the process leading up to granting of such Special Agriculture and Business Leases. 20
A: Yes, to investigate, to go with those people, landowners concerned, and fill up certain documents---
COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: I am sorry Mr Dumui, you will have to speak up because the public wants to hear you too.
A: We have to be with those people concerned and fill up certain documents pertaining to land investigation report and also with everybody in that particular group must be included in the schedule of owners and it goes on and after that the last people, there are certain people will sign, lands investigation officer will sign and finally before the report goes to Moresby, the administrator of the province is the final person to sign that l30
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and investigation report to say yes If he says, yes, he signs it if he says no, he does not sign that.
[2.12p.m.] MR BOI: Thank you, Mr Dumui. Are you aware of the SABL on Portion 1C Milinch of Garua, Fourmil Talasea, West New Britain granted to Lolokoru Estates Limited?
A: Yes, I am aware.
Q: Are you aware of that SABL?
A: I am aware of that because Lands officers from New Britain Palm Oil told me about that.
Q: You just described the processes leading to the grant of a SABL just a 10 while ago. Were you involved in the process you just described in relation to this SABL?
A: I never attended to that Land investigation.
[2.15p.m.]Q: I will put it in another way. Did you conduct the land investigation?
COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: Did you carry out that land investigation from your office as the responsible authority to do that? Did you or did you not?
A: I did not do that.
Q: Who did you say carried out this land investigation?
A: Lands officer from New Britain Palm Oil.
Q: A non governmental agency? 20
MR BOI: Mr Dumui, I have a copy of a purported or supposed land investigation report here prepared by New Britain Oil Palm Limited. I will show it to you and you can confirm whether this is the report you are referring to.
A: Yes, I signed after they have ---
COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: Can I take a look at it?
MR BOI: You confirm that this is a copy of the land investigation report done by New Britain Oil Palm Limited?
A: I confirm that.
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Q: You just told the Commission of Inquiry that you had no part in the compilation of this report, no part in the land investigation culminating in this report. You confirm that? You just told the Commission that you did not play any part in the compilation of this investigation report.
A: I was told and I did not actually write up that report.
COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: Let us get over this very quickly. You did not conduct the investigation itself?
Q: But you saw the results of land investigation conducted by the Lands officers of NBP Oil? 10
Q: And you saw all of what had been compiled by them and you signed a certificate at the back of that report?
Q: I want to ask, were you satisfied that what constituted the investigation was or appeared to be properly done so you signed that certificate?
A: I was under impression of that so I signed that.
Q: You are a public official Mr Dumui. You have to answer the question as I pose it. You were satisfied that it was done properly that is why you signed it? 20
A: Yes, sir.
Q: Even though it was done by a private organisation?
A: Even if done by others as you say.
Q: Even though it was done by private organisation?
A: Yes, I understood that.
[2.27p.m]MR BOI: The contents of the report was true, leading to your signature at the back, by what means, how were you satisfied that the Land investigation was properly done?
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A: I was of the belief that it was done properly.
Q: You were of the belief?
Q: You were not sure but you were just of the belief?
Q: I see. As you are not aware Mr Dumui, prior and informed consent of a landowner is crucial to the establishment of a SABL. By certifying here you say that the landowners actually gave their consent without reservations? You are fully sure of the consent leading to the report?
A: Yes, I believed that they consented so I signed that. 10
Q: Did you make sure or you believed that you were---
A: I believed and I asked the Lands officer from New Britain on that and she confirmed too so I had to sign that.
COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: Let us get the name of the person from New Britain Palm Oil on record. What was her name?
A: Lilian Holland.
A: Lilian Holland.
MR BOI: Yes, Lilian Holland. 20
COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: H-o-l-l-a-n-d?
MR BOI: H-o-l-l-a-n-d. She is slotted to give evidence tomorrow.
COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: Certainly.
MR BOI: You just assumed that the report was properly done so you signed at the back? Is that what you are saying?
A: That is what I am saying.
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Q: Are you also aware that there was section 11 head lease signed between the landowners and the State? Do you know what a section 11 is?
A: Of the Land Act?
Q: Yes, section 11 of the Land Act.
A: I think it is something to do with SABL, yes.
Q: Alright, I will just explain it to you. That is the lease; that is the agreement between the landowners and the State for the landowners to lease their land to the State and the State will then lease it back to the landowners or whoever they nominate to develop the land. Before an SABL can be created, the law says that there must be such a lease signed between the 10 landowners and the State or Secretary for Lands on behalf of the State. Are you aware that such a lease was signed by the landowners and the State?
COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: It is sometimes called the head lease.
A: Yes, lease it back to the State and the State leases it back to the landowners.
MR BOI: Yes, you are right but I am asking you whether such a lease was signed by the landowners of Lolokoru or ..........Pilapila and the State?
Q: Are you aware whether such an agreement was signed?
A: Yes, I think there was a group of lands officers on several occasions they 20 came here. But that particular case with Lolokoru, officers from the department came here to sign on behalf of the National Department.
COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: From the National Department of Lands and Physical Planning?
Q: Can you remember their names?
MR BOI: Can you remember their names or not?
A: I cannot remember, I know them, but who came, I am not clear now. But they come here often; some came and later on---
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COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: But in relation to Lolokoru Estate, can you remember who are the headquarters, Department of Lands and Physical Planning officers in attendance?
A: I cannot remember who actually came on.
MR BOI: You will just have to answer yes or not. Are you aware of such a head lease been signed between the landowners for Lolokoru Estate and the State, the section 11 headlease?
COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: If you are not, do not waste our time. You just tell us.
MR BOI: You were not aware? 10
A: I was not aware.
[2.30p.m]Q: Commissioner, those are the few questions I have for this witness.
COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: Apart from this one where your office and yourself perhaps and your superiors were not involved, are there any others in relation to other SABLs you have accepted, compiled land investigation report by persons other than person from your office?
Q: Which others would have been those?
A: Lamagoro Estate, there are some of them and Rigula Estate and---
Q: Are those the ones that are reported in the Paper today which are not on the 20 list of SABLs to be investigated?
A: Yes, there are some---
Q: Have you read todays Paper?
A: Yes, I did not read todays paper but there are more to that.
Q: Sure. Alright, Counsels, it seems to be practice which we did not encounter in any other province although there were involvement of say developers or joint venture partners but essentially they were, for instance, in Gulf, we noted that the involvement of the investments and the process but essentially the lands officers, provincial lands officers were involved.
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In this case, it is a total absence and they just rely completely on what is produced by entities other than those in authority.
MR BOI: Yes, Commissioner, in Gulf and other places, the developers more or less fund the activities of the Lands Department to conduct the investigations. Here it seems the Lands Department is not involved. The private enterprise is involved in this investigation.
COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: Yes, but we have to note and bear in mind that there are no provisions as I have stated in the opening statement, there are no provisions that guides the actual process in carrying out the land investigation and compiling a report thereafter. And all they have been doing had been to use the 10 format in the alienation process of land from customary landowners.
MR BOI: Yes.
[2.34p.m] COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: I suppose we cannot take Mr Dumui any further then as it is, in terms of checking on the informed consents, that would be with Ms Holland.
MR BOI: That is correct. Informed consent is the main issue which requires the tenants of the Lands Department, being an independent government entity.
COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: If Ms Holland is unable to say if what she has in the documents that are in that document that you just showed us, that they were informed consents, then obviously, without the involvement of the officers from 20 the Department of Lands, we are in trouble are we not?
MR BOI: That is correct, Commission.
COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: But if Ms Holland is able to give evidence and confirm that those consents we have seen in that document provided constituted informed consent, then maybe even in the absence of official involvement in this particular land investigation, it may well be valid.
MR BOI: This is all, Commissioner.
COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: Very well. If you consider Mr Dumui is no longer of any assistance to us, we could have him step down.
MR BOI: Yes, Commissioner, could this witness be excused? 30
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COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: Mr Dumui, thank you very much for coming, you are excused for the time being. But be available because we are here until the end of next week with regard to all Special Agricultural and Business Leases in West New Britain.
Q: Thank you. For the time being, you can step down.
THE WITNESS WITHDREW
MR BOI: Commissioner, the next witness is Mr Benedict Mane. Benedict 10 Mane?
COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: Can we please have all mobile phones switched off?
BENEDICT MANE, Sworn:
XN: MR BOI
Q: Witness, can you inform the Commission your name, who you are?
A: Counsel, I am Ben Mane, former company secretary and then MD of Lolokoru Estates Limited. 20
COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: Sorry, just Ben or Benedict?
A: Benedict, full name Benedict Mane.
Q: Alright. You are the former company secretary?
Q: Of Lolokoru?
A: Lolokoru Estates, and then following the restructure, appointed as MD in 2010.
SABL4-KIMBE 09/02/2012 21
MR BOI: Correct, you were involved in the creation of this SABL granted to Lolokoru Estates Limited, situated on portion 1C, milinch of Darua, fourmil Talasea, West New Britain Province? Is it correct that you were involved in its creation from the outset?
A: Yes, for the Lolokoru Estates Limited company, yes. The project, the oil palm project but not the land investigation.
Q: Can you in a chronological sequence relay to the Commission your involvement leading up to the creation of the SABL?
A: Yes, Counsel. When we started this project, the land investigation report was already done, it was there. We were never involved in the land 10 investigation report. It was done by the previous company, Lolokoru Estates was previously Wagori Logging. They were involved in logging and they were involved in the actual land investigation report. It was done by them. So when we started the project, the report was already there. So, because Wagori Logging at that time was bankrupt, we had to reactivate Wagori Logging because all the titles, the actual land investigation report and all the land titles are within Wagori Logging so we have to reactivate the company so as we can transfer all the titles and the actual land investigation report into the new name which is Lolokoru Estates Limited.
Q: After you completed or changed the name of the company for Wagori 20 Logging to Lolokoru Estates, what measures did you take to create this Special Agriculture and Business Lease?
A: The actual steps I think the Lands officer for because all the documentation and all that is with NBPOL. Because we were dealing through them to lodge all the necessary documentation for the transfer from Wagori Logging to Lolokoru Estates. So they would have all the necessary documentation.
COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: Mr Benedict Mane, what was the proposed project, be it agricultural or forestry, initially when Wagoria Logging had the land investigation conducted and a report made? 30
A: I think it is intended for oil palm, but not as NBPOL as the developer but someone else. But at that time when I first joined NBPOL, there was a need by the people from the Gulu area to get services into the area so my main objective is to get the project because I was the senior executive of
SABL4-KIMBE 09/02/2012 22
the country. I need to help my people so I need to establish some sort of projects so that we can get services into the area. So I think it is intended for oil palm.
MR BOI: Alright, I will take you up on that. Mr Mane, when you were referring to a land investigation report system at the time, are you referring to this document here?
[2.44p.m]A: Yes, that is the document, Counsel.
COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: Is it different from the one produced earlier before Mr---
MR BOI: That is correct, Commissioner. This is a different document to the 10 other document shown to you earlier on.
COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: Thank you.
MR BOI: Mr Mane, do you know when this report was done?
A: Sorry Counsel, what?
MR BOI: Do you know when this report was done?
A: According to the date here it was 89, when it was done by the Wagori Logging. The then company secretary is Caspar Nolis, in the audience, will know more about this, how it was initiated, how it was created.
Q: Mr Mane, if you look closely at the document on the front cover you have there, it says, lease lease of land. And it says down there, This deed 20 made on the 11th day of February 1989. But this is not a report, this is a deed. Does this agreement not relate to the logging, sharing of benefits for logging? And it was signed, For purposes of logging.
A: You may be correct. I was told it was land investigation report.
Q: There is no if you look at it there is no signature by any Lands officer or whoever conducted the report. This appears to be a deed, it is not a and I am the informations information that this is a deed relating to benefit sharing for the logging undertaken by Wagori and it is not a land investigation report relating to the oil palm on Lolokoru.
A: I have not seen the land investigation report. 30
SABL4-KIMBE 09/02/2012 23
COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: Counsel, be mindful of the fact that there are two stakes, portions which constitute what was described as State land on both sides of the customary land area that we visited yesterday.
MR BOI: Yes.
COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: Could this possibly relate to possible State acquisition in relation to those two? I am just thinking aloud.
MR BOI: Commissioner, the top left hand corner says, this relates to Bilave Pilapila. That is the customary land.
COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: Yes, and the total area is 1,750 hectares. 10
MR BOI: Yes, that would be correct.
COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: So it could well be the customary portion there.
MR BOI: Yes, relates to the customary portion in which there was logging undertaken prior to the SABL. We are informed that this relates to benefits sharing for the logging exercise, identification of beneficiaries and landowners and that.
[2.48p.m] COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: Yes. There seems to be some attempt at land tenure conversion for a specified period of time.
MR BOI: Yes. That may have been done to facilitate the logging I assume.
COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: Yes, that aside, however, the nature of the 20 agreement right on the front page seems to suggest a land tenure conversion rather than a SABL.
MR BOI: Yes.
COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: This document is not very helpful except the agreement right up front. The customary landowners, their lease to the State, the whole of that land, for a term of 40 years and allows the State to remove such buildings, structures or fixtures on the land and to be compensated accordingly. But one cannot make it if there was any structures of any sort, except for the trees that were standing.
MR BOI: That is right. 30
SABL4-KIMBE 09/02/2012 24
COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: Nonetheless, what this document serves is only to indicate that there was some attempt at some sort of a development in that period.
MR BOI: Yes, and this document---
COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: Counsel, you need to take us from that period to the period commencing from 2005 so that we come back to where we are.
MR BOI: We just refer to this as a land investigation report and that is why we are just dwelling on that.
COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: Perhaps if I could assist you there Counsel. Mr Mane, between that document you refer to as land investigation report compiled 10 in the period up to 1989, we have seen another compiled by the Lands officers of the company, New Britain Palm Oil Limited. Perhaps if you can show him a copy of that at this point so that he will know what I am leading him in this question towards.
That bundle of documents or bound documents you are looking at constitute the land investigation report based on a land investigation carried out by the Lands officers employed by New Britain Palm Oil. Have you seen that before?
[2.51p.m]A: Commissioners, I cannot but from the list included in the report, it is similar to the list that the Lands, company Lands officer were compiling
when they were doing up the ILGs, Incorporated Land Groups and they were 20 preparing them for lodgement of applications for the ILGs seat. It is similar to I mean the list are consistent with the list of the landowners, the little ones, the dads, and so on. But the actual document itself, it is the first time I have seen it.
COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: That is the first time he has seen that one.
MR BOI: Can I have the document back? When you set out to create an SABL over the land known as Pilana Pilapila and create this oil palm estate, did you come to the Lands office, the West New Britain Lands office inform them of your intention and for them to assist you convert the customary land into a State lease?
A: There were some meetings between landowners and NBPOL and the Lands 30 office but most of the coordinating was done by NBPOL.
SABL4-KIMBE 09/02/2012 25
Q: I am asking whether you, as the front man or the person leading the tent to establish the SABL, did you inform the Lands Department in Kimbe?
A: Not directly, it is done through our Lands, the NBPOL Lands office.
COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: What you are saying primarily, Mr Mane, is that NBPOL being an established company in the industry, oil palm industry, you relied heavily on NBPOL to assist in the process?
A: That is right. They will be guiding us mostly.
Q: Including much of the official process?
Q: That ought to have been carried out by the Division of Lands and perhaps 10 Department of Agriculture and Livestock as well as Department of Environment and Conversation?
A: Yes. And where they can assist because NBPOL would most like they want to speed things up so---
Q: Yes. Do not take me incorrectly. It may well be that the process had been carried out by NBPOL employed Lands officers but so long as the consents as given by the landowners who own the piece of land where this SABL now covers, gave their consent in an informed way and they know what this was all about, that the project to be embarked upon involved planting of oil palm and that they wanted to participate by doing so, notwithstanding the 20 fact that the Lands officers here did not actively become involved in it in the direct processes which included evidencing through holding of public hearings or public meetings in various villages amongst various clans to ensure that they know that they are going to contribute their customary land to this particular project. That is what we call informed consents. So all of what we are presenting to you and you are looking at amounts to this. For the part that you played or you undertook, irrespective of who conducted these land investigations although properly it should be done by officials of the State. If there is informed consent and they know what this is all about, there should be nothing wrong with it. The only thing wrong with it will be 30 for us to point to the Department of Lands and Physical Planning and tell them, get off your arses and do these things.
SABL4-KIMBE 09/02/2012 26
[2.58p.m] Commissioner, I think for consent, as a company, we held meetings, numerous meetings with the landowners plus the Lolokoru board. I think from my submission, copy of my submission, that I did last year in September, the summary contains all the copies of minutes that was held and the involvement of landowners and the consent of landowners to get the project going. So all of these would be in your file.
MR BOI: We will locate those documents. You say that you played no part or had no knowledge of the land investigation undertaken by New Britain Oil Palm. But in many of these reports, you are being named here as a person having a lot to do with the representative of landowners. I will just read this. Are you aware of 10 your name being included; your involvement?
A: Yes, Counsel, as I have mentioned, I did not know that this was the land investigation report or there was a land investigation report. As I have mentioned, I know there was some signatures and names being, the landowners signed off to lodge the incorporated land group applications so where all the clans had to sign. As for the land investigation as such, I was not--
Q: You were not consciously aware that this was a land investigation being undertaken?
A: That is right. I mean they may have been doing that but I did not know. 20 All I know is that this was done, the land investigation was done by Wagori logging before and we just had a document to go by.
COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: Perhaps Counsel, if I can take a number of questions here to bring this witness into contact with his involvement. Just take a seat briefly and I will take the witness through.
Where there any meetings in villages that you may have been involved in to inform the customary landowners that Wagoria Logging is bankrupt and you are now proceeding through this process to substitute Wagoria Logging with Lolokoru Oil Palm Estate?
A: Yes, Commissioner, as I have mentioned, there are copies of meetings that 30 we held with landowners plus the Lolokoru Board meeting as well. May I read some of the minutes, copies ---
Q: Please do because that is imperative.
SABL4-KIMBE 09/02/2012 27
A: 3.1 copies are on file. Minute of meeting 1/2003, dated 11/1/2003, to elect the board chairman, Lawrence Waluka and to endorse the three ILGs, Karapa Kaugo and Matana Keto to be included in the project and the ILG chairman to be appointed directors of LEL board. 3.2, minute of meeting 3/2003 held on 4 October 2003 in which a resolution was passed that all of the two State land, Nalukoru and Wangowango and customary land, Pilana Pilapila must be developed immediately. 3.3, minute of all clan leaders meeting of 19/11/2003 within the project area to confirm that the project must commence immediately. 3.4, minute of board of directors meeting of 19/11/2003, immediately after the clan leaders meeting, above, in 10 which all the six ILGs have reaffirmed that the project must commence without further delay. These are records of minutes that were held when the project was being started.
Q: Is that a meeting of directors or is it a public meeting where everybody participated?
A: Public meeting and some directors meeting, yes.
Q: Did any of these meetings involve the lands officers from the company and the NBPOL?
Q: Can you point us to the specific meetings where they would have been 20 involved in that?
A: The meeting of 19/11/2003, within the project area to confirm that the project must commence immediately, that included NBPOL plus the Lands office. I think in fact Dumui must have attended that meeting as well plus some OPIC, Oil Palm Industries Corporation staff.
Q: Mr Dumui had given evidence earlier and he said he was not involved at all or perhaps he could not remember. We need some certainty in these things.
[3.05p.m] ... which was carried out by the New Britain Palm Oil which you just saw, that you just looked at which you are unaware of. There is a whole list of 30 names of people under various clans who wrote their names and signed on the right. Did you notice that when you looked at that document?
SABL4-KIMBE 09/02/2012 28
Q: Those are usually comprised in a document we call the statutory declaration as to Native land ownership. And through these public meetings, individual landowners, notwithstanding their clans, individual landowners in each clan are informed of the intention or the proposal rather to bring all of their land together placed in a Special Agriculture Business Lease in that description and in that kind of organisation of customary land so that they can go into a project. And after being informed, they put their names and they sign it. Do you recall this taking place in one of those meetings? 10
A: Yes, Commissioner, as I mentioned I may have---
Q: I cannot all happen at the same time I can appreciate that.
A: I may have mixed it up with when we were going around and doing signatories for the ILG applications. It may have been part of that process because if I had seen that document after it was done and completed, then I would have differentiated between this document and the ILG, Incorporated Land Group application.
Q: Yes. Nonetheless, I do not expect you to labour too much on that because we will be calling Ms Holland, the Lands officer in the company who conducted this so we will have an opportunity to check this out. But I am 20 just wondering while you are in the witness box whether you are aware of that.
A: Commissioner, as I have said, I may have confused because it was done together so I would not know which one is land investigation and the ILG applications.
MR BOI: Following the completion of the report, how far were you involved in securing the title or the lease to be granted to Lolokoru Estates?
A: That was done through NBPOL, through their agent, AKT Associates.
Q: Do you know or are you aware of an agreement being signed by the landowners leasing their land to the State? Let me explain this and then I 30 will for an SABL to be created, the land is still customary land. So the customary landowners will have to sign an agreement, a head lease, section
SABL4-KIMBE 09/02/2012 29
11 of the Land Act says that the customary landowners will have to lease their land to the State and the State will then lease it back to a company or a developer or the landowners themselves nominated by them. Without that the agreement the land remains customary land. So you cannot lease over it. So my question is, are you aware of any agreement being signed by the landowners, customary landowners of the land known as Pilani Pilapila, agreement signed by them leasing their land to the State. Are you aware of any such agreement?
A: I cannot specifically remember. All I know is that there is a project agreement which the landowners signed with NBPOL for the project to is 10 that the same thing?
Q: Are you referring to the sub lease? The agreement between the landowners of Lolokoru Estate and the---
COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: No, it is not the same thing.
A: It is not the same thing.
Q: It is not the same thing. Mr Mane, the process that I asked you about in public meetings, landowners are informed of the kind of project they are being asked to give up their land to form the part of the lease. When all that is concluded, with the recommendation from the provincial administrator here, all of these documents are then presented to the 20 department of Lands and Physical Planning, Customary Lands division desk and they process towards the grant to be made by either the minister or the secretary of that department. Usually that comprises also the agency agreement where the landowners appoint the landowner representatives to executive the head lease with the State where they agree to give the customary land to the State and the State will lease back to either them directly or entity of their choice. That is what the counsel is asking. Are you aware of this process having taken place and who signed?
A: I cannot remember. Because as far as I know land investigation was already done. So we were not going to do another land investigation, it 30 was done before. That was my understanding. Until I saw this document that there was a new land investigation been done.
[3.14p.m] Commissioner, I have not seen this document before. This is the first time I have seen it. Counsel, as the Commissioner is saying---
SABL4-KIMBE 09/02/2012 30
COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: Irrespective, that is what you say, Mr Mane. But with regard to the land investigation, you are seeking from him, Counsel, is to be sought from Ms Holland and the others.
MR BOI: Yes. I was just wondering whether he had some knowledge of it.
COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: He has indicated that no amount of probing is going to assist---
MR BOI: Yes, he has just confirmed that he has no knowledge of the head lease.
COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: Could you ask him if he is part of the landowning groups or not?
MR BOI: Yes, Mr Mane, are you part of the land on which Lolokoru Oil Palm 10 Estate is located?
A: Yes, I am a landowner. I am one of the ILGs called Tauwale.
COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: Which one? Which ILG?
A: Tauwale Incorporated Land Group. The three ILGs from Bulu area.
MR BOI: Taukele?
Q: As a member of that ILG, you do not recall signing any such documents?
A: Clan is Tega, it is Tega clan.
A: Yes. 20
COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: Counsel, may I have this land investigation report prepared by NBPOL. Associate?
Mane, sorry, what is your clans name?
A: It is Tega clan.
Q: How do you spell that?
SABL4-KIMBE 09/02/2012 31
A: T-e-g-a., under Tauwale ILG.
Q: Taule or Tauwale?
A: Tauwale. T-a-u-c-h-a-l-e.
Q: Yes. Tauchale or Tauwale.
Q: Yes, I have found that one and what is the other name?
Q: T-e-g-a. Right, I have found them. Counsel, just bear with me. 10
MR BOI: Yes.
COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: Sometimes it is important we get down to the nuts and bolts. Yes, I note your name here. I note your name under Tega.
Q: And you signed it. Show the witness, right at the bottom there. And you signed that. That constitutes what we call consent. It comes under statutory declaration as to Native Land Ownership. And you signed that among your fellow clansmen. Could you try to recall when this process was taking place, that this was done in a public meeting?
A: Yes. It was done, everyone. But Commissioner, as I have mentioned, 20 there was two process taking place; the main one was for the ILG to register all the incorporated land groups and then this land investigation. But I was not aware that it was a land investigations, it was a separate document for land investigation. Because my understanding was that ---
Q: That constitutes part of the land investigation. I will just quickly call the names of the others. When I finish, you can confirm if all of them are members of Tega clan or only some of them. Or you could try to note those who are not.
So Walter Pinda?
SABL4-KIMBE 09/02/2012 32
Q: Stephania Tuka?
Q: Ben Raka?
Q: Benjamin Mane?
Q: Henry Mane?
Q: Jacquelyne Mane? 10
Q: Francis Gala?
Q: Maridia Gala?
Q: Rosvita Marcus?
Q: Cosmos Marcus?
Q: Peter Marcus? 20
Q: You recognise all of them?
Q: You say they are members of the Tega clan?
SABL4-KIMBE 09/02/2012 33
A: Yes, the Tega clan.
Q: Let me take you to Tahale. It is a longer list. Is it Tahale land group? What is Abu stand for?
A: That is a clan.
Q: You are all under that---
A: No, Abu is a separate clan.
Q: Right, and you are all under Tahale land group?
A: Tahale, yes.
Q: Alright, so I need not take you through Abu. You are only Tega under the Tahale land group? Let me state at the outset here, those of you who are 10 objecting to this SABL, when you come up into the witness box, I am going to take you through your own clans as well. I just have to do that. It is going to take time but I have to do that.
Yes, proceed Counsel.
MR BOI: Mr Mane, to be fair to you, I will put some allegations made during those meetings you referred to in relation to the meetings leading up to the registration of the SABL and the signing of this document. It has been alleged and you can confirm with maybe Mr ......... At the outset, the Lands officer, Mrs Lilian Holland went down to obtain the signatures and consent of these landowners, she was initially chased away. Is that true? 20
A: Yes, in the initial stage there was some misunderstanding; there was some opposition if you like to in the project when we were trying to start the project. But after more explanation and all that, I think people wanted service because we were sort of isolated and we had no roads, the only means of transport is by sea and when rough seas, there is a lot of deaths in the village. So most of the clans they are adamant that we need some big major impact projects there so it can attract service into the area. So in the end, everyone consented that this project must go on. But I admit in the initial stage there was some disagreement by some clans on the actual land investigation report that was done on Bilane Pilapila. Because some clans 30 were saying that it does not consist of the actual landowners because it is a
SABL4-KIMBE 09/02/2012 34
list of all clans is based on the logging Wagori Logging company which includes four villages.
COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: And the wider area of land.
A: That is right, yes. So there were names there that were not supposed to be there so they were not happy. So what we agreed at that time was that, Look, we must get the project going; let us establish the project. And the board has passed a resolution, it is a special resolution which states that after the area is planted, let us revisit the clan composition within that Bilane Pilapila area. It is an internal process that we want to do. Because the land investigation was done by Wagoria Logging. So that is what we 10 did. We planted all the area and when the area is all planted, then we institute a community called Dispute Settlement Committee to investigate and find out which clans are the actual owners of that customary land. And while we are in that process, there was one clan took out a court injunction so that is where we stopped.
MR BOI: Very well. But you do confirm that---
COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: Just hold on counsel. Which clan took out the court injunction?
A: It is Ruga clan. Me and Lawrences clan.
[3.23p.m] COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: Yes, go on Counsel. 20
MR BOI: Do you confirm that when Lilian Holland went down there with the land investigation for people to sign, they initially chased her away?
A: Yes, they refused to sign the document; they refused to sign the document.
COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: No, they actually chased her away. That is the question. The question is, they actually chased her away? That is what the question is. You are not aware of that?
A: Yes, I cannot. But I know when she came back I had to go with her next and then there was no problem so everyone signed.
MR BOI: Is it true that she came back and got you and you gave some money of K600 to a person called John Laka and told him to influence the people to sign 30 the document the next day?
SABL4-KIMBE 09/02/2012 35
A: That is a total lie. I have not given money to anyone.
Q: It is alleged that the next day, you and the present group threatened and intimidated the landowners at Daba to sign the document?
A: I have not threatened anyone.
Q: It is further alleged that you and some of your people threatened the landowners into signing the family tree which I suppose is the land investigation report compiled by Lilian Holland?
A: I have never threatened anyone to sign anything.
Q: Very well.
COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: Counsel, any specific alleged victims of the 10 threats? Apart from John Laka?
MR BOI: I have a statement here signed by Mr Joe Gawa, Blasius Reu and Pinda Okore alleging ---
COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: Read it to the witness please. Because these are allegations of actual threats we want to get it on record and he can respond to that.
MR BOI: Yes. Witness, this is part of the statement submitted to the Commission of Inquiry by Mr Joe Gawa, Blasius Reu and and Mr Pinda Okore. I will read it to you from the relevant parts starting from okay, I will probably read the whole statement. This is the statement from these persons who are the 20 ILG chairmen of Joe Gawa is chairman of Taukele ILG, Blasius Reu is chairman of Kulumo ILG and Pinda Okore is chiramn of Dawa ILG. Those are the three ILGs, shareholders of Lolokoru Estates Limited.
It reads; Pastaim long project i kamap it is written in Pidgin so I am reading it in Pidgin.
[3.28p.m.] COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: Please do. It is our national language.
MR BOI: Yes. Pastaim long project i kamap long 1997, mipela i bumim olgeta man Buludawa na Bulumari na holim wanpela miting long Bulumari village na tok klia long Ben Mane which is the witness and Lawrence Valuka, olsem mipela imas kamapim papa graun pastaim bihain husait ken kam insait. Mrs Rei i 30 stand up strong na mekim dispela tingting wantaim ol man blong ples. Two, Ben
SABL4-KIMBE 09/02/2012 36
Mane na Lawrence Valuka i bekim ol toktok na oli tok emi orait, yumi ken stretim ol dispel behain. Identification emi ken kamap bihain. Sapos yumi westim taim Mosa bai lusim dispel hap na go long narapela hap na narapela project. Three, mipela askim sapos Mosa iken stat ---
[3.28p.m.]Mr Commissioner, Mr Tusais was suggesting to me that he should respond to each statement as I go along. Is that ---
COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: Perhaps you should do that. There are a number of allegations?
MR BOI: Yes.
COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: Alright, go allegation by allegation. 10
MR BOI: I am going by the statement. The allegations are there are some sworn about the threats.
COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: Pass it up to me, let me see what we can do. Alright, with respect Mr Tusais, perhaps read out the whole statement to him and I am sure he will be able to respond to anything that might appear to him to be by way of allegations. Mr Mane, Mr Boi, Counsel will continue where he left off in relation to the statement opposing this particular lease.
MR BOI: Paragraph 3, mipela i askim sapos Mosa iken stat long tupela State land, Wangowango na Narukoru, na mipela iken lukim pastaim bipo mipela iken givim Bilana Pilapila customary land. Tasol Ben Mane na Lawrence i tok olsem, 20 dispela area i liklik tumas na ino nap long kamapim mini estate unless mipela including Bila Pilapila em bai inap long kamapim mini estate.
Paragraph 4; long narapela miting ken, mipela holim long Matane Bubulu wantaim Ben Mane na Lawrence Voluka. As tingting long dispela miting em blo makim ol ILG, tupelo i askim mipela long makim ol ILG chairman, wokim ol family tree, clan leaders na mekim listings blong ol dispel samting.
Paragraph 5; bihain mipela i go bek long bikples na holim miting bilong mipela na makim ILG chairmen long mipela; Taukele ILG, Kulumo ILG na Dava ILG.
Paragraph 6; long dispel miting Ben Mane i mekim sampela toktok olsem, taim blade blo bulldozer i pas long graun, bai moni i pun daun. Oli tok too olsem bai 30 Mosa baim tripela truck blong tupela ILG na tripela Lucas Mill na baim kappa
SABL4-KIMBE 09/02/2012 37
blong haus, wokim skul building, haus sik na rot blong ples. I will put those specifically later but I am going through the statement.
Paragraph 7; narapela miting bilong mipela i holim long Tanda long 1998, dispel miting mipela i holim long kliarim mipela long ol Bakovi bai stap insait long project wantaim ol Bulu, tripela clan tasol long Bakovi mipela i kisim i kam insait long project wantaim ol Bulu; em Matana Kito, Karapa na Koago clan. Mipela i kisim ol i go insait bikos long passim long rot, ol bai passim rot bilong mipela long kam insait long town.
Paragraph 8; bihain long dispela miting long kliarim ol Bakovi, operation long katim bush long tupela State land, Wango Wango na Nanukoru emi stap. 10
Paragraph 9; plenti lain ikam insait long kisim ol kontract long New Britain Oil Palm long katim bush na kliarim tupela State land bihain oli wok igo insait long traditional land, Bilani Pilapila.
Paragraph 10: tain klia felling i wok long kam insait long customary land, Bilane Pilapila, Pastor John Kembu, William Meta, William Dore na ol narapela man ikirap wanpela pressure group long stopim Mosa na bai long man long ples i identifying papa blong Bilane Pilapila.
Paragraph 11; olgeta machine long KPC Mosa na ol narapela company oli engagim mi fullback na stop.
Paragraph 12; after ol machine i pull back, Ben Mane, isalim Lands officer blon 20 Mosa, Lilian, ikam daun long ples long kisim ol man long salim ol family tree long tok orait long customary land Bilane Pilapila.
Paragraph 13; taim Lilian, Lands officers blong Mosa ikam daun, ol pressure group i rausim em long Tanda. William Dore i lidim ol dispela group.
Paragraph 14; Lilian i go bek na repot long Ben Mane na m nau i salim car igo pikim John Laka, chairman long Dauwa ILG na ikam na lukim Ben Mane na emi givim em K600 long John Laka em spak na kar i kisim em igo bek long Dawa na emi sinaut long ples na itok tumoro yupela olgeta mas sign. Bai sidaun blo yupela bai iorait, yupela bai gat gupela haus.
Paragraph 15; behain long John Laka imekim toktok long Dawa, Ben Mane i 30 organisim ol lain tambu blon em long Dawa na oli kam long Tandan na
SABL4-KIMBE 09/02/2012 38
threatenim ol pressure group long nite na oli tok, graun blo yupela wer? Dispela i passim maus blon pressure group na mekim ol man sign.
Paragraph 16; behain Ben Mane i salim bek Lands officer, Lilian, ikam bek long tanda na ol Kurumo ILG nau i signim ol family tree. Bihain emi go long Taukele ILG long Kilau na oli signim ol family tree bilong ol too. Bihain Dawa ILG em last long sign.
Paragraph 17: bihain long operation, nau igo het long tupelo State land na customary land, Bilane Pilapila.
[3.38p.m] Paragraph 18: Taim kliarim i pinis olgeta, bihain mipela i signing MOU wantaim New Britain Palm Oil Limited. Nogat wanpela moni blong environmental 10 damage mipela i kisim.
Paragraph 19: Long dispela MOU, mipela ol lain i sign, Mrs Rei, John Gawa, John Laka, mipela ino understandim content long dispela agreement, mipela ino gat input long dispela agreement, long Mosa i save, kolim dispela agreement em standard agreement.
Paragraph 20: Sapos mipela i save long wanpela kain standard agreement olsem, bai mipela ino inap givim graun long Mosa. Long dispela agreement Mosa i givim ol landowner 10 percent tasol FFB na K50 per hectare long wokim road, building classroom, or baim car olsem Ben Mane it ok long pastaim true em nogat. Na tu, dispela ino stap insait long agreement. 20
Paragraph 21: Ben Mane na Lawrence Voluka em tupela wokman bilong New Britain Oil Palm na New Britain Oil Palm i usim tupela long kisim dispela graun na givim long New Britain Oil Palm. End of statement.
I will put individual areas where may be contentious. Mr Mane, in this statement, in paragraph 6, it says, referring to a meeting held at Matane Bubulu. It says that at that meeting Commissioner, we will just make a copy of that statement available to them.
[3.40p.m]Paragraph 6 which alleged that, in Pidgin it says, long dispela miting, Ben Mane i mekim sampela toktok, olsem taim late long .... ipas long graun by moni i pundaun. Oli tok tu olsem bai Mosa i bai tripela truck long tripela ILG, tripela 30 Lucas Mill na baim kappa long haus, wokim skul, building haus sick na rot long ples. What do you say to that? Do you confirm stating those enticements?
SABL4-KIMBE 09/02/2012 39
A: Counsel, I deny that statement. I never said that. But what happened was as soon as the sub lease agreement was signed, that was when the payment was made. I never said anything about buying trucks and all these sort of things. I never said anything about that.
Q: At this particular meeting, it is alleged that you have promised these things which you say you did not?
A: No, I never promised anything.
COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: What about the initial suggestion as indicated among the allegations that these three clans wanted to see that the State segment of the estate on both sides be developed first before you go into the customary 10 land; before they will be willing to give up their customary land.
A: Yes, Commissioner, that suggestion was now, what I said at the time was as it was mentioned here, it was too small. I mean Mosa is an economic based company, it is a profit making organisation so it is not viable for it to come and put a project here and there is no point. So we need a bigger area.
Q: The economic viability.
A: Economic viability goes down. That is what I explained to them.
Q: In respect of your conveyed position, and that probably got incorporated in the resolution that had been spoken about that customary land dispute as to 20 who the actual landowners be, be determined later. Because you have a developer who is willing to go in right away, that you proceed with the development first and you deal with the customary land a bit later.
A: That is correct.
Q: Counsel, take him through a number of more other pertinent relevant allegations in there and get his response.
MR BOI: Yes.
[3.45p.m]COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: What is his name again?
MR BOI: William Done.
COMMISIONER JEREWAI: William Dole? 30
SABL4-KIMBE 09/02/2012 40
MR BOI: Done, D-o-n-e.
COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: Done.
MR BOI: Yes.
COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: Okay, he is the fourth name appearing in this statutory declaration. And you say he was the ---
MR BOI: He left the pressure group.
COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: He was leading the pressure group?
MR BOI: He led the pressure group in chasing the Lands officer.
COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: Are you calling him?
MR BOI: Yes. 10
COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: Make sure he is called.
MR BOI: Yes, we will. Commissioner, Mr Done, his name just came up so we will try and endeavour to locate him.
COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: He is not around is he?
MR BOI: No, we do not know the---
COMMISSIONER JEREWAI: Is Mr Done in the room? Alright you make sure you come here to give evidence. That is it.
MR BOI: Yes, very well. Thank you Commissioner. We move on to Clause 14 which says, Lilian igo bek na repot long Ben Mane na em nau i salim kar igo long pikim John Laka, chairman of Dawa ILG na ikam lukim Ben Mane na emi 20 givim em K600 long John Laka, emi spak na kar i kisim emi go bek long Dawa na emi sinaut long ples na emi tok, tomorrow yupela olgeta mas sign. Bai sindaun long yupela bai olrait, yupela bai gat gupela haus. What do you say to that Mr Mane?
A: I deny giving any money to John Laka for the purpose of bribing him.
Q: Very well. Clause 15, bihain long John Laka i mekim toktok long Dawa, Ben Mane i organisim ol lain tambu long em long Dawa na oli kam long Tandan na threatenim ol pressure group long night. Na ol it ok, graun blo
SABL4-KIMBE 09/02/2012 41
yupela we? Dispela is passim maus blo pressure group na mekim ol man sign tasol.
THE WITNESS WITHDREW
AT 3.48 P.M. THE COMMISSION OF INQUIRY WAS ADJOURNED TO FRIDAY 10 FEBRUARY 2012 AT 9.30 A.M. 10
SABL4-KIMBE 09/02/2012 42
INDEX PAGE NO
BEN MADIU, Sworn:...................................................................... 06 XN: MR BOI................................................................................... 06 THE WITNESS WITHDREW.......................................................... 12 KASEN DUMUI, Sworn:.................................................................. 12 XN: MR BOI............................................................................ 12 THE WITNESS WITHDREW........................................................... 20 10 BENEDICT MANE, Sworn:............................................................... 20
XN: MR BOI............................................................................ 20
THE WITNESS WITHDREW............................................................ 41
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