We need genuine foreign investment
Transparency Solomon Islands | Solomon Star
TRANSPARENCY Solomon Islands is asking the question – do we have sufficient laws and policies to attract legitimate foreign investment?
The Democratic Coalition for Change Government (DCCG) has announced a number of policies designed to attract new foreign investors to our shores.
How can we ensure that the investors we attract will generate benefits for Solomon Islands without adding to local tensions and conflicts? Can we encourage investment from companies that will not result in allegations of corrupt practices in the way they do business?
The logging industry has not set a good precedent.
Recent developments in mining operations in the country do not seem to demonstrate any improvement.
In 2014, a small group of foreign investors, including the directors of PT Mega Bintang Borneo, registered thirteen separate companies. All of these nominated “mining” as their primary business sector.
All of these companies are registered in a period of 5 months between May –September 2014.
Below are the names of the 13 mining companies:
- Gold Mark Mining Ltd.
- PT BahteraMitraSakti Ltd.
- Santorica Indo Resources Ltd.
- PT Mega Bintang Borneo Ltd.
- PT PelayaranBharunaSamuc.
- Mega Solomon Mining Ltd.
- PT BahteraMitraTrada Ltd.
- United Solomon Mining Ltd.
- High Land Mining Ltd.
- PT BintangArwana
- Golden Solomon Resources Ltd
- Richmont Mining Ltd.
- Grand Peak Solomon Ltd.
TSI believe that it is in the best interest of the public to know if these strings of mining companies with different names but same directorship is a genuine investor to do mining in different part of the country.
Why have these individuals registered so many different companies?
Does the Foreign Investment Division or Company Haus have any concerns about these developments?
Do they have sufficient powers to act if they do have concerns?
Is the law limiting a company to a maximum of three prospecting licences being enforced?
Why TSI is asking these questions is because of the fact that there is a cloud over the operations of PT Mega Bintang Borneo, who was granted a lease to mine bauxite in Renbel Province just three months after being granted a prospecting license.
Earlier this year, the Attorney General Chambers Office produced a report recommending the cancellation of the company’s mining lease due to a series of legal irregularities.
On the 7th of May 2015, the Minister of Mines after deliberation with the Mines and Mineral Board acted to cancel PT Mega Bintang Borneo’s lease on the basis that it’s prospecting license contravene with section 6(a) and 6(b) of the Mines and Mineral Act 1990.
Thus, any further mining operation of PT Mega Bintang Borneo in Rennell is null and void. Meaning PT Mega Bingtang Borneo must pack up and leave the country.
Coincidence, this decision came in the wake of Bintang Borneo’s apparent attempt to deceive Customs with a fake permit to allow them to export its stockpile of bauxite on Rennell Island. The Ministry of Mines swiftly advised Customs to seize the vessel.
However, shortly afterward, the Cabinet did come up with a contradictory decision to what the Ministry of Mines had made. Cabinet has directed customs to release seized vessel and the illegal bauxite consignment to be exported.
These are very controversial issue which does not reflect well on the PT Mega Bintang Borneo as one of the 13 mining companies under the same directorships to invest in mining industry and respect our laws.
Is this are the kind of investment we will see from these companies?
Also, the recent allegation by a senior member of the Mines and Mineral Board that suggested close links between these companies and certain Members of Parliament and Cabinet Members with these mining companies is a real concern.
This only shows that these companies are not here only for mining interest but they are here to influence the leaders of our nation to their interest and not of the people.
Thus, the question remains, “Do these 13 mining companies under the same directorship are genuine companies to invest in the mining industry of Solomon Islands”.