2 Jun 2008

Bougainvilleans to meet over controversy surrounding deal with Canada's Invincible Resources

3:38 pm on 2 June 2008

Bougainvilleans are to meet in a public forum this Thursday to discuss a controversial deal giving a Canadian company majority control of an agency set up to foster investment in the autonomous Papua New Guinea province.

The secret deal giving Invincible Resources 70 percent control of the Bogenvil Resource Development Corporation has sparked a lot of anger from politicians, chiefs and business operators, but the President, Joseph Kabui, has said the opposition is led by chiefs who are upset their company was not chosen.

One opponent of the deal is Thomas Rabanz of the Bougainville Businessman's Association, who maintains the ABG did not follow its own protocol.

"Invincible never came through the right procedure, regulatory, and that is through the investor screening commitee, which BEC endorsed. Next, the BRDC[Bogenvil Resource Development Corporation] exclusive rights given, as [Mr] Kabui says the people do not understand - we do understand , and based on calculations that's a ripoff."

Invincible paid around 7 million US dollars for the 70 percent shareholding in the BRDC.