LR GROUP PURCHASE OF PNG POWER 50% SHARE WAS A SCAM DATING BACK TO NOVEMBER 2011
By ROIT S MULAN
Re-post from Tok Aut Tok Stret Media & News Page | 25th May 2020
Those who have business interest in a particular industry would design a situation to create their opportunity. It is believed that some of the wars in many countries of the world are orchestrated by weapon producers. Similarly, sometimes, if the electrical supply is all of a sudden inefficient and we have constant blackouts, don’t take it for granted.
Sometimes our doom and glooms are by design. Let me show you how it happens.
By design, Minister for Public Enterprise Ben Micah announced on a particular day some few weeks ago of the Government’s intention to sell 50 % of PNG Power Ltd. In the same newspaper, the CEO of PNG Power pretended to have known nothing.
Within the same week, the National Newspaper ran two stories in the front pages, one for the sale of the PNG power 50% share and another one concerning the presentation of a feasibility study LR Group conducted in Hela Province for the supply of reliable electricity. LR claimed that it can use the same medium to take care of most of the power supply needs for the country.
Immediately after the 2012 national elections, Hela prophet Anderson Aigiru brought in LR Group from Israel, the holy land to undertake a number of projects from poultry to all manner of other projects including electricity. The superstitions of Hela prophesy being fulfilled through the Israel-Hela connection was a perfect scapegoat.
LR took more than two years to complete a feasibility study. Still, today, you don’t see any reliable electricity in Hela. LR Group is an Israeli company and is known for its involvement in the innovative agro industries.
You ask any Israeli in the know and they would tell you that LR has never involved in any electricity projects and has no expertise in the electrical industry. The Chairman of LR Group PNG branch is a person by the name of Ilan Weiss, the son of Jacob Weiss.
Jacob Weiss has a long time involvement in PNG dating back to the 1990s, particularly with the Bank of Papua New Guinea. Jacob Weiss has a long history with PNG. He was the one involved in the UBS Cayman Islands deal Paias Wingti was the Prime Minister, Sir Julius Chan was the Finance Minister and Sir Mekere Morauta was the Governor of Bank of Papua New Guinea.
These three still kept their relationships close to Jacob Weiss because Weiss was a deal maker and with his requisite knowledge of the financial industry, he does a very clean job without leaving a trace. Around March/April 2012, it was announced in the media that LR Group would purchase 50% of PNG Power.
The PNG Power Workers Union went on strike and since the national general elections were nearing, the planned sale was shelved. Sir Mekere Morauta was the minister for public enterprise then. Remember Weiss and Morauta were good friends.
On an aside, after they returned from the elections, Sir Mek joined the PNG sustainable development Program as its Chairman. Weiss was a long term member there as the nominee for the Bank of Papua New Guinea.
Weiss and Mekere decided to lend about K14 million to build a hydroponic farm at nine mile, outside Port Moresby. The funds were registered as loan against Western Highlands Development Corporation, a company that Wingti is responsible, whilst the monies went directly to LR Group.
In December 2013, after more than a year had lapsed and people had forgotten of the move to sell PNG Power Ltd’s 50%, Peter O’Neill directed Treasury Secretary Daire Vele to make a swift transaction of transferring K50 million to Bank of Papua New Guinea.
BPNG is not the Government’s procurement authority yet K50m was paid to BPNG to purportedly purchase to two generators. BPNG even applied for tax clearance which was readily granted. The transaction was conducted in such a way that nobody in any of the responsible authorities would detect the inappropriateness or otherwise of the transaction.
The funds were transferred to Bank Leumi in Israel on 20th December 2013. From very reliable sources, the K50 million was anticipated to be used by LR Group as Peter O’Neill’s seed capital to purchase the 50% share. They organised the transaction in such a subtle way to use the State’s funds to purchase private shares of PM O’Neill in a public enterprise.
When the allegations were raised in early January 2014 by the Opposition Leader and others, Peter O’Neill did not respond properly and truly. He was evasive and instead deflected on petty issues like asking the Opposition to come up with better policies.
On 5th March 2014, the NEC deliberated NEC Policy Submission No. 61/2014 and decided in its Decision No. 74/2014, all of the recommendations enumerated in the policy submission, amongst others.
PM’s Media release on 15th April 2014 in response to allegations raised by Opposition Leader Belden Namah, he stated, amongst others that the K50 million was part of the payment of K94 million and is sitting in the Central Bank trust account and was not transferred as claimed.
He admitted directing Secretary Vele immediately after the Israel visit to release the funds. However, by that time, the funds were already transferred. The fact of the matter as it seems, is that LR does not produce the mobile generators, nor does it have the technical capacity to produce and distribute such equipment.
The mobile powers are products of General Electrical Corporation of US and not Israel Electrical. What is the logic of going all the way to Israel to procure the turbines when we can order them directly from GE? It is understood that to cover up, another K94 million was sent, not to LR Group this time, but to GE Electrical directly to deliver the two turbines.
Off course O’Neill can shout at the top of his voice saying he has delivered but it was a long journey and we know it. LR’s Group’s Media Advertorial of 15th May 2014 (Post Courier p.43) did acknowledge that their involvement with PNG dates back to 2011 when Sir Mekere was the Public Enterprise Minister.
LR said they carried out feasibility studies at no cost to PPL/IPBC of the power problems in PNG. LR did not state that the purchase of two power turbine generators was part of the recommendation arising out of their feasibility studies though they did say that the purchase of the two generators arose out of that framework.
I CONCLUDE BY SAYING THAT THE PLAN TO SELL PNG POWER IS NOT FOR RESCUING THE ELECTRICITY PROVISION PROBLEMS, BUT FOR ECONOMIC GREED AND CORRUPTION.