By Alfred Sasako
BUSINESSMAN Patrick Wong – the man who is waiting on Government to pay him $50 million for the Hell’s Point waste land in east Honiara – was never an investor, a Management Agreement signed in 2003 has revealed.
Instead, Mr Wong was recruited by the Board of the Copra Export Marketing Authority (CEMA) to assist in managing Russell Islands Plantation Estates Ltd’s (RIPEL) business and selling its products.
Island Sun has obtained a copy of the Agreement, signed on February 27, 2003.
Representatives of RIPEL and Pacific Management Services (SI) Ltd (PMSL initialled the Agreement. PMSL was established as a vehicle Wong and associates used to manage RIPEL,
The Foreign Investment Division of the Ministry of Commerce, Industry Immigration and Labour confirmed yesterday that PMSL’s registration is now overdue.
“It has not been renewed for the last financial year, which ended October 2017,” records show. Goh and Partners used to renew PMSL’s registration by way of filing annual returns.
There are four parts to the Management Agreement signed fifteen years ago.
Part A says:
“RIPEL is in the business of producing and exporting copra, coconut oil, copra cake, coconuts, animal meat, cocoa and other similar commodities (the products);
Part B says:
“PMSL, through its directors, servants, agents and employees, has experience in managing business in the export trade and selling the Products internationally (the Services);
“RIPEL wishes to engage the Services of PMSL to assist in managing its business and in selling its Products; and Part D which says:
“PMSL is prepared to make the Services available on the terms and conditions set out in this Agreement.”
The $50 million payout ordered by the Court of Appeal has raised controversies in both the legal and government circles. Some say Wong should never collect a cent from the land because he never owned or developed the land.
Secondly, they say Wong’s involvement in both RIPEL and Levers Solomon Ltd ceased when the CEMA Board was wound up.
“He was just an employee, never an investor,” some say.
The Foreign Investment Division said it used this argument to reject the company’s registration application because Wong was never an investor.