Source: PNG Exposed
A Malaysian owned business registered in the United States is trying to raise $500,000 via the internet using the promise of profits to be made in logging an illegally issued SABL in Central Province.
MAS Project Management claims it has 'acquired' the 42,150 hectares of land known as Portion 29C which it will use for logging under an agreement with Baina Agro Forestry Limited.
MAS claims the logging will deliver profits of over US$34 million but fails to disclose the SABL has been declared unlawful by a Commission of Inquiry which recommended the lease be revoked.
Dato Abdul Manaf Abdul Hamid is the man behind MAS Project Management. He says the company is registered in the US State of Delaware. He is also a shareholder and director of MAS Incorporated, which is registered as a local company in PNG despite being owned by Malaysians.
Abdul Manaf Abdul Hamid is using the EquityNet crowd funding platform to try and raise $500,000 from potential investors.
He has posted a promotional video on YouTube in which he claims logging in the SABL will deliver profits of over US$34 million, based on the export of 873,280 cubic metres of logs and an income of $122 million.
The video makes no mention of the costs of establishing an oil palm plantation which is promised on the EquityNet website and which is presumably the carrot being used to fool some local landowners.
Baina Agro Forestry is the company which was granted a 40 year SABL lease over Portion 29C in November 2005. It claims to be a 'landowner' company but only a very few local people are involved.
The SABL Commission of Inquiry found the lease had been unlawfully issued by the Department of Lands and recommended it be revoked. That recommendation has since been endorsed by the National Executive Committee.
The CoI found most of the 6,000 people living in the lease area had not been consulted about the SABL. Only 300 (5%) participated in the Land Investigation process. As well as the lack of landowner consent the CoI found numerous procedural errors in the issuing of the SABL.
This is how MAS Project Management describes its plans:
MAS had acquired a piece of land for an agro-forestry project located in the Goilala District of Central Province, Papua New Guinea. It covers a total of 42,150 hec. of forest and is geographically located approx. just 100 km west of Port Moresby. MAS INCORPORATED (PNG) LTD a company incorporated in the Independent State of Papua New Guinea on 19th July, 2007and wholly owned by Malaysian Bumiputra had acquired a piece of land for an agro-forestry project located in the Goilala District of Central Province, Papua New Guinea. It covers a total of 42,150 hectares of forest land and is geographically located approximately just 100 km west of Port Moresby, the National Capital of PNG. The location is within the vicinity of the Doa Rubber estates in the east and Mariboi Rubber Plantation in the north. Besides being registered as a private limited company, MAS has also been certified by Investment Promotion Authority (IPA) as a foreign enterprise and recognized by the PNG National Forest Authority as a Forest Industry Participant under the Forestry Act 1991. The Landowners and the Clan Leaders of Baina Agro-Forest had endorsed a Logging & Marketing Agreement (LMA) dated 28th October 2008 signed between BAINA AGRO FOREST LTD (BAF) a Landowner Company (LOC) and MAS INCORPORATED (PNG) LTD (MAS). Under the LMA, MAS is given the rights to extract and market the timber resourses felled in the area. A SUB-LEASE AGREEMENT dated 12th December 2008 was also signed between Baina Agro Forest Ltd and Mas Incorporated (PNG) Ltd. whereby the Baina Agro Forestry Land was leased to MAS for 40 + 99 years. The approval to start a clear felling operation on the first designated area of 5,000 hec. was given by the Department of Agriculture & Livestock (DAL) and the PNG National Forest Authority (NFA) since 7th October 2009. The approval paved the way for MAS to apply for the Forest Clearing Authority (FCA), an overall approval from the DAL and the NFA to clear fell the forest in the designated area for agricultural development. The merchantable timber extracted from the area are allowed to be exported while the small and the super small volumes that cannot be exported can be utilized locally for downstream processing.