By Alfred Sasako
A tribal Russell Islands’ landowner has renewed his call on authorities to monitor foreign businessman, Patrick Wong’s activities in Solomon Islands, saying Mr Wong remains a prohibited person to enter Solomon Islands.
“I know Mr Patrick Wong was allowed into the country on the pretext of attending court cases relating to the Russell Islands Plantation Estates Ltd (RIPEL). That is fine but Mr Wong should never use his entry as a licence to engage in meetings which have divided communities on Russell Islands.
“My second point is that Mr Wong is a persona non-grata,” Russell Islands Tribal landowner Silas Selo told Island Sun yesterday.
“What he does here should be closely monitored by authorities. He should never be allowed to do anything other than attending court cases,” Mr Selo said.
Mr Wong could not be contacted for comments yesterday. He announced recently that he was paying dividends to RIPEL shareholders as well as local landowners on Russell.
But Mr Selo said how RIPEL could pay dividends when it no longer had any assets.
“The fact of the matter is that RIEPL has no assets. It has not traded since 2002 so where is the $2 million promised in dividends going to come from?
“People would recall that last year Mr Wong promised to pay $12.8 million in dividends to RIPEL shareholders and the Lavukal landowners. It would seem this figure was linked to the payment by Government of $50 million for the Hell’s Point waste land in east Honiara,” Mr Selo said.
“Now Mr Wong has reduced the figure to just $2 million. That’s quite a drop,” he said.
Mr Selo said there’s a joke in the Russell Islands today that Mr Wong was going to send the $2 million through Western Union.
“One wonders whether he has obtained clearance from the Central Bank of Solomon Islands for this transaction.”