The National, Thursday October 24th, 2013
By FREDDY MOU
A LANDOWNER company has acquired a major tea and coffee plantation in Jiwaka after going through many legal battles.
Bopin investment Ltd yesterday witnessed the takeover ceremony of titles of the Kurumul tea and coffee plantation from the previous Malaysian owners, EPA Management SdnBhd, which was represented by Ian Sheppard Lawyers from Port Moresby.
Bopin Investment chairman Roy Helmot Mian said the legal battle for ownership of the plantation was not an easy.
“It took us 12 solid years to win this battle and become the rightful owner of the plantation,” he said.
The plantation was previously managed by Warren Plantation Ltd on behalf of EPA Management.
In August 2002, Warren Plantation refused to sell Kurumul to the landowner company for unknown reasons but that did not stop Mian from lobbying for the eventual takeover.
“The matter was made worse as there was strong opposition from people within our tribe and the neighbouring tribe,” he said.
“On many occasions, one Paul Pou Mai and his group from Kisu and Dimanka tribe have mislead the people of Dimanka and Kisu tribes, claiming that he had bought off Kurumul and Mareban plantations from the Malaysian company.
“At one stage, Mai released a false press statement on Oct 18, 2002 in Post-Courier claiming that his company Polin Construction Ltd had bought off the Kurumul tea and coffee plantation.”
Mian said the EPA finally agreed to sell the plantation for K260,000.
On Septr 13, 2013, the landowners paid the outstanding K122,303.50 and got the title from EPA Management.
The plantation has 233.2ha of coffee crop which was being harvested with the processed beans ready for export.
The ceremony was witnessed by the 14 directors of the landowner company from Dimanka, Kisu and Ikuma tribes who have been flown from Jiwaka just to witness the occasion.