As the old saying goes, there are two certainties in life, death and taxes. We can now add a third, Lawrence Daveona’s terrible judgement.
Over the last few years the struggling Chairman of the Panguna Mine Affected Landowners Association (PMALA), has got into bed with a veritable rogue’s gallery of spivs and multinational predators – all this, we are told, is done by Lawrence to help Bougainvillean landowners … what does Daveona do to those he wants to hurt!
On PNGExposed bank reconciliation statements revealed that Daveona accepted money from Rio Tinto lobbyist Axel Sturm.
Based in a foreign tax haven, the German born Sturm is the largest individual shareholder at Bougainville Copper Limited. Daveona – the man mandated to defend landowning communities – felt there was no conflict of interest, taking money from a lobbyist with a huge stake in the company getting the best deal possible from landowners.
And what did Daveona do for Sturm – PNG Industry News reports: “[Sturm] told PNGIndustryNews that Daveona might have received a total of 4000 euros ($A5710) over various payments and in exchange, ESBC received ‘some information’ that was more difficult to gain access to at the time’. In short Daveona was acting as a double-agent – providing the enemy with difficult to access information on landowning communities. A conflict of interest here? Daveona says no!
Indeed, Daveona told PNG Exposed he worked at the Ombudsman Commission, HE KNOWS what a conflict of interest is, and these payments were entirely legitimate. Were we to doubt his authority on this matter, several lines later Daveona emphatically answers allegations of corruption – made when he worked as a Parliamentary Deputy Clerk – by admitting, yes he supplied police with “grog, 2 laptops and a new Vehicle with fuel” in return for conducting a fraud investigation … whats wrong with that?! Ah lets see what the national court says.
In the end – surprise surprise – Sturm and Daveona fell out. Sturm told PNG Mine Watch
“It is true that for many years the ESBC supported Mr. Daveona’s efforts to resume mining by BCL. Unfortunately I had to stop funding Mr. Daveona because of his increasing inappropriate behaviour towards Bougainville’s President, Dr. John Momis and myself [sic]. Sadly there was no more sustainable cooperation possible for the benefit of Bougainvilleans. Today, quite obviously, Mr. Daveona follows his very own agenda and private interest which is proved by his recent statements. He does not have any regard for the people of Bougainville or even the Panguna landowner’s future”.
But not to be outdone it appears Daveona has found an even more dubious outfit to wed landowning communities to – whether they like it or not – the Chinese multinational China Great Wall Industry Corporation (GWIC). According to the Post-Courier, Daveona has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with GWIC. According to reports on Facebook Daveona and his executive colleagues were pissed – “[they were] drunk all night through to day break, at the meeting with the Chinese and the MP for Central Bougainville, a few rough ones misbehaved at the Lynchar guesthouse, paid from the public purse by the MP for Central Bougainville”.
Foreign carpetbaggers getting the locals drunk so they sign contracts, that puts the neo back in colonial.
And GWIC has a very colourful past – some of its achievements include breaking UN sanctions on Iran, and engaging in espionage in the US.
Even Prime Minister O’Neil worked out something was not quite right with these guys when they came sniffing at his door. The Australian writes: “O’Neill’s request for a review [of a MOU signed by his Minister with GWIC] follows concerns raised in the US congress and a corruption case in Singapore”.
But what does O’Neill know, Daveona is a much more cunning character!
The Post-Courier tells us that GWIC has been anxiously waiting ten years to come to Bougainville and help the people; they just couldn’t wait any longer! Because that, of course, is what multinationals do, wait around, thinking up ways to help people.
And what exactly is it that this charitable multinational weapons manufacturer wants to do on Bougainville – make profit you ask? No no no, they have come to help teach Bougainvilleans ‘world class’ techniques for mine waste disposal.
This is quite a change in occupation; who would have thought that when not engaged in espionage, sanction-breaking and missile manufacturing that GWIC would go around the world helping indigenous landowners protect their environments.
On the Bougainville Forum a few misguided individuals have suggested – god forbid – that perhaps this Chinese player is planning to buy Rio Tinto out.
What evidence do these cranks have?
Ahh GWIC do it regularly in other countries, ahh China is a growing industrial power hungry as hell for resources, ahhh China has earmarked PNG as a country ripe for looting – i.e it has corrupt leaders, a toothless media, and a demoralised, divided population, just perfect!
But what do we know – Daveona no doubt has a cunning plan! For a century big-money and multinationals have gone around the world looting and pillaging, not once has anyone brought them to heal through superior commercial acumen – which is not to say indigenous people have not successfully employed other means. But that’s because they have never before come up against Lawrence Daveona – the man who wines and dines with Axel Sturm, plies beer to police and allegedly signs MOUs after a night out on the grog with his colleagues.
Watch out China, watch out Rio Tinto, Daveona has your number and is about to squeeze you so mercilessly that your billions of dollars showers upon the people of Bougainville; soon the multinationals will leave Bougainville rueing the day they crossed swords with Lawrence Daveona!! And shortly after flying pigs will do a military style salute overhead.