The National, Monday 13th Febuary 2012
By GABRIEL FITO
A COMMISSIONER executing the national government-sanctioned Commission of Inquiry of the Special Agriculture Business Lease (SABL) hearing into the Sepik Oil Palm Plantation Ltd has expressed disappointment over an incident at the project site last Wednesday.
Commissioner Nicholas Mirou said he was shocked and terrified when another vehicle driven by an aggrieved landowner company executive speeded towards the vehicle carrying him in an erratic and dangerous manner.
Francis Yabirasa, public relations officer of Limawo Holdings Ltd, later got out of the vehicle with a few others, including chairman Aaron Malijiwi.
They then abused Mirou’s party.
The landowner company executives were angry because a non-governmental organisation leader, Gabriel Molok, whom they accused of campaigning against the project, was in Mirou’s vehicle.
Company secretary Willie Nilmo said: “It all built out of frustration because Molok and two others on the opposing side were in the commission’s vehicle.”
Nilmo said the commission was in the province to do an independent and neutral assessment of the SABL projects and report back to the government and transparency was vital.
Speaking during a brief session last Friday before Mirou adjourned the matter to tomorrow for a full hearing, he said the manner in which Yabirasa and Malijiwi acted was beyond acceptable standards and could be dealt with under commission laws.
Mirou told the hearing that while he accepted their reason for attacking his vehicle, he only helped Molok as a landowner and did not know that he was a NGO leader.
Yabirasa and Malijiwi, who appeared before the commission after being summoned apologised to the commission and their apology was accepted.
The two-week inquiry, which started last Wednesday, will cover other SABL projects namely Brilliant Investment Ltd at Marienberg, Mapsera Development Corp Ltd and Nungwaia Rainforest Management Alliance Ltd.