Mayor and executive deny attending land sale meeting
BY EDDIE OSIFELO
EXECUTIVE of the Honiara City Council (HCC) has denied selling the council land at Ranadi to Malaysian logger Excellent Resource Management Limited.
And they denied attending a purported council executive meeting held last October, which approved the sale.
In a letter councillors within the executive, including mayor Wilson Mamae, sent to the Minister of Home Affairs Christopher Laore yesterday, they said:
“We have never attended the meeting although our names appeared in the minutes found in the office of the city clerk (Rence Sore).
“We deny receiving any form of payment, gift or in-kind pertaining to the transfer of this HCC land.
“We solemnly declared before your good office that we disassociate ourselves, from any involvement, engagement, or sitting in any meeting that authorise the transfer of this HCC land to any person.
“To our knowledge, this particular HCC land at Ranadi was designated to build a betel nut market house for those betel nut vendors in Honiara.
“We were shocked of this land saga when we were informed.
“This is an interesting issue worth investigating within the HCC office to determine how this HCC land dealing was conducted.”
This latest revelation may mean city clerk Rence Sore may have fabricated the minutes of the purported meeting. Sore has been avoiding speaking to the media lately.
Documents the Island Sun cited show Sore prepared and submitted the minutes to the Commissioner of Lands (CoL) to facilitate the transfer of the land title.
The land currently accommodates an incinerator and other facilities owned by the Biosecurity Department within the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands (MAL).
In the minutes Sore presented to the CoL, it claimed the council decided to sell the land because local company Anolpha Enterprise has been attempting to acquire it.
In doing that, the minutes claimed Anolpha has been actively marketing the three plots of land they claimed to have owned, including the council land, to interested buyers.
In its conclusion, the minutes quoted Mayor Mamae as saying “valuation of all council land needs to be done. Land rents need to be paid. And titles need to be renewed to avoid all dirty land deals that may come up unexpectedly”.
The minutes has not been dated, nor signed.
Mayor Mamae is one of the councillors that denied attending the meeting.
But in a letter to CoL Alan McNeil seeking his consent to the transfer of title, Sore claimed “he had applied on behalf of the council”.
Sore was also the one who wrote and signed the letter, dated 2 November 2020, offering the land to Excellent Resources Management Limited for the price of $800,000.
Meanwhile, CoL Alan McNeil , who earlier gave his consent for the transfer of the land, issued a notice to resume the land from Excellent Resources Management.
He said Government needs for the Biosecurity Quarantine incinerator.
Excellent Resources Ltd has a month to respond to the notice of resumption.