MGU keen to sell more than Panguna

Bougainville Special Correspondent

Self-proclaimed Me’ekamui Tribal Government of Unity (MGU) and Transpacific Ventures (TPV) entered an agreement in 2013 selling not just Panguna, but the entire island’s mineral rights to the company. Transpacific Ventures, with its Executive Director Renzie Duncan, designed a confidential Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the tribal government which virtually holds no authority on Bougainville, let alone Panguna.

Phillip Miriori

Phillip Miriori

The deal was drafted in the hope of utilizing the now Bougainville Transitional Mining Act. Which despite stiff opposition, was passed in ABG’s House of Representatives on 26th of March 2015.

The MGU’s self-declared president Philip Miriori; who has ambitiously pawned the entire island’s mineral rights for economic investment to the illegal government, emits a long trail of smoke that is getting thicker as the PNG Prime Minister is becoming more involved.

Caption from a copy of the MOU signed in 2013

Caption from a copy of the MOU signed in 2013

Now it would be assumed that ABG is aware of this agreement whether by formal means or hearsay, nevertheless both governments have an on and off relationship. But if there can be any speculation to this, MGU might be ABG’s ticket to Panguna. And having the so called tribal government being ‘the voice’ of the people of Panguna, will be a pretext to initially kick starting reopening of Panguna.

MGU is one of the many spent shell casings from the once well organised guerilla government that chased out a giant mining corporation, and out-maneuvered an Australian supplied and trained military. Under Late Francis Ona, Me’ekamui was the deterrent from foreign and corporate vultures. This is not the case today.

President Philip Miriori, who has come out as a sleazy operator; has been in the business of forking out from ‘investors’ like as Tall J, United Resources Management, Bill Wang and TPV. His motives may be for personal gain or so to speak, because he has not been able to initiate anything apart from bringing in the district government into Panguna. Presumably his hidden work may be coming undone with the recent spate of activities by the PM O’Neill.

The MOU has virtually signed away Bougainville's mineral rights

The MOU has virtually signed away Bougainville’s mineral rights

The speculation is Philip Miriori is working closely with TPV as the mining company and the PNG government as a potential funder for the reopening. Hence, the PNG PM is looking at purchasing the 53.83% shares from Rio Tinto, not only that, but has appointed himself as the Minister for Bougainville Affairs.

If this is the case, it is logical to predict repercussion of instability on the island. There are well armed factions that still exist and very much tainted by the issue of mining.

The people of Panguna, since pre-crisis have been misrepresented by their own leaders, relenting too much against the people’s cries on the degradation and destruction of their environment. It is important to note that Bougainville is predominantly matrilineal, and landowner representation at that time were representative-wise contrary. It was not until late leaders, Francis Ona and Perpetua Serero took over the Panguna Landowners Association.

Lest should it be forgotten that men took to arms under Francis Ona as a measure of deterrence and defense. Perpetua Serero’s inspiration had as much influence as well. Women had had enough and demanded their men to take action. And customarily, men are responsible for defending the land of their mothers and daughters. This has been the practice of the people for thousands of years.

What happened afterwards is a history that exposed BCL’s arrogance and embarrassed a government.

Importantly, what can be defined from the region’s past to todays are the same issues of misrepresentation, greed and arrogance. These were key issues that led to the crisis. It is a no brainer to point out these issues with the current leadership.

8 Comments

Filed under Corruption, Financial returns, Papua New Guinea

8 responses to “MGU keen to sell more than Panguna

  1. Philip Miriori

    The Me’ekamui Government of Unity (MGU) terminated the agreement with TPV in January 2014. The agreement with URM was also terminated once the new Mining Law came into force. If your special correspondent would like to print the truth he or she should contact me in Panguna instead of printing out of date material. Also please Mr Special Bougainville Corresponent put your name to your allegations otherwise you are just hiding and no one can take you seriously.

    The MGU is now only working within the framework set up by the ABG under the new Bougainville Mining Law 2015.

    • Dansi

      Interesting Mr Miriori…what legitimacy does your group (faction) have over the region to come into such agreements in the first place. After all, as you mentioned; you claim so to terminate these agreements but people in Panguna, and Bougainville for the matter; have not a clue of your operations. Do you care to put to light why you are so secretive? I wonder if the women (who are landowners by the way) know about your ‘government’s’ dealings…

    • Dansi

      oh by the way…seems interesting that when you get exposed then you come out.

  2. Fred Isah

    I have seen it all. ‘President’ Miriori lecturing people on transparency. Well Philip now is your chance to put your money where your mouth is. Tell us more about the deal you had with TPV? And what about the Tall J? Who else are you talking with about selling Bougainville’s natural resources? Can you tell us about your relationship with United Resource Management? And for good measure, please tell us if you have had any dealings with Wang Enterprises Limited? Tell us about your meetings with the PM and certain Australian ‘businessmen’? And why is it you and Dr Momis have suddenly mended fences? Has the ABG paid you or your friends large sums for services such as ‘security’ and ‘cleaning’?

    When mining companies e.g. TPV, pay you large (!) sums of money, are you alerting all landowners, and distributing these payments with transparency? Open the books good sir, let us all see.

    I am sure Mine Watch would be more than happy to post any agreements you have signed with these organisations, so you can demonstrate your commitment to openness and good governance, along with your financial accounts too which show the money has been transparently and fairly distributed.

    Once you have done all this, perhaps then you have earned the right to lecture others on transparency.

  3. Dear Mr Philip Miriori,
    You state that “the MGU is now only working within the framework set up by the ABG under the new Bougainville Mining Law 2015”.
    Why?
    You also stated that “the Me’ekamui Government of Unity (MGU) terminated the agreement with Transpacific Ventures (TPV) in January 2014”.
    Why?
    It would be extremely important to know your answers to the above questions.
    We also wish to give you cause to remember that you said in the Postcourier on 30 March 2010 that the “Landowners stand firm” in the article by FABIAN GATANA.
    “The landowners and my government are not about to allow BCL to return and re-open the Panguna mine,” he said. Mr Miriori said landowners were not prepared to enter into talks to review the agreement until their compensation demands of K10 billion were paid. “My government and people want to reaffirm that my brother Francis Ona’s original demand of K10 billion for compensation will be maintained with new vigour.” He said the agreement was a “bad law” enacted in 1969. “We were never included in this bad agreement. They paid us an insulting 0.025 per cent,” he said. Mr Mirioiri said the closure of the Panguna mine was a result of failed attempts by the landowners and the North Solomons Provincial Government to seek a review of the BCA with BCL and the PNG Government.”
    The Bougainville Freedom Movement continue to support the people of Bougainville, the Panguna landowners and Me’ekamui as did the late Francis Ona, the Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA), and the Bougainville Interim Government. We also stand firm against the re-opening of the Panguna mine. We also stand firm and in solidarity, that Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL) and Rio Tinto compensate the people of Bougainville for their human rights abuses and the environmental devastation they caused.
    We stand in solidarity for your justice, peace and Independence for Bougainville.
    The current Prime Minister of PNG, Mr Peter O’Neill is now the Minister of Bougainville Affairs. It is apparent that the PNG Prime Minister is working closely with BCL and Rio Tinto.
    Do you have any comments on this information?

  4. Pingback: PNG, Bougainville and Rio Tinto – recapping some forgotten facts | Papua New Guinea Mine Watch

  5. Pingback: Rio Tinto exit from Bougainville and Panguna landowners | Papua New Guinea Mine Watch

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