PMO: Wale benefits from extractive industry

Leader of Opposition Matthew Wale’s nonstop deliberate lies to mislead the public and his ongoing personal attack in the media on Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has taken another low when Wale in one of his recent opinion pieces in the media claimed Sogavare was a beneficiary of  the extractive Industry.

“Wale’s uncontrollable crave for power and continuous attempt to discredit the Prime minister is downright wrong and unbecoming of any national Leader  but is not surprising coming from Wale,” a statement from the Office of the Prime Minister said.

“In fact, contrary to Wale’s misleading claims, Sogavare as Prime Minister in 2015 lead from the front in Forestry reform to ensure stricter logging practices when he revoked more than 30 Agro Forestry permits upon learning that logging companies were abusing it,” the statement added.

“Actually the truth in essence is Wale self-benefitted from the extractive industry and is on record for fraud where he self-gained organizing a scholarship for his own biological children under Allied Gold & St. Barbara Mining, a mining company then operating in Gold Ridge where Wale promised the company he could set up further kickbacks in the form of mining leases.

“The payments to Wale on record were made in 2011 by miners Allied Gold and St Barbara to the then Deputy Opposition Leader Matthew Wale which resulted  in such actions referred to and investigated by the Australian Federal Police.

“St. Barbara’s financial records obtained then showed, Opposition leader Wale’s children attended the Anglican Church Grammar School in Brisbane, with annual fees reportedly paid for by St. Barbara for as much as AUD$113,000 equivalent to SBD$750,000.

“St. Barbara was also coerced into arranging employment for a relative of Wale, a lawyer with other benefits, which included a AUD$13,500 or SBD$81,000 payment to Wale for “office set up expenses”.

“St Barbara provided a statement in regards to Wales’s corruptive practices to the Australian Securities Exchange that through its internal ­mechanisms it became aware of the payments to Wale and had reported the issue to authorities including the AFP, the UK Serious Fraud Office and the Solomon Islands Attorney-General Office.

“Wale’s corruptive practices and self-serving attitude and action resulted in a public uproar and condemnation.

“The then provincial member for Vulolo ward of Guadacanal Province and Minister for Provincial Affairs, Patrick Kennedy, said the revelation that opposition leader, Matthew Wale, had been benefiting from a tailored scholarship for his children is a slap on the face of Gold Ridge people.

“Not all the landowning families have the privilege to be under the company’s scholarship, why does the company overlooked us and paid lavish fees for the children of the Member of Parliament (MP) for Aoke/ Langalanga?

“He’s not even a Guadalcanal leader, it is really a slap on the face of all of us- the landowning groups of Gold Ridge mine.

“As the provincial member responsible for the Gold Ridge area, I urge the next company not to repeat what Allied and St Barbara did.

“We also have people who are well versed with the workings of the government, and why the company did not use them is anybody’s guess.

“We cannot afford to lose our privilege to a national leader that is not even responsible for the affairs of Guadalcanal Province as a whole.”

St Barbara did not confirm or deny any of these allegations in its statement then to the ASXIt but its market cap fell to around $70 million.

In the same period, its share price has fallen from $1.75 to 14.5¢.St Barbara reported a $501 million full-year loss for the 2014 financial year, including a $411 million hit for the non-cash impairment of its Pacific operations.

“It is indeed sad to see Wale accusing the Prime Minister of something that is being practiced by himself.

“Wale’s desperate campaign to become Prime Minister has become comical and pathetic,” the statement from the PMO said.

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