The National, Friday October 18th, 2013
POMIO MP Paul Tiensten has denied that the submission by Mesu Investment Ltd for Karlai Plantation presented to him in the national court in Kokopo yesterday was the one he had received in 2008.
This was in relation to a rehabilitation programme at a 1,000ha plantation in Pomio, which was allocated K3.4 million under the national agriculture development plan.
It is alleged that the money was diverted to another project because Mesu Investment Ltd claimed to have not received any payment.
Tiensten told the National Court in Kokopo that the submission he had receive was different to the one presented to him in court yesterday.
He said he understood that normal government procedures required all submissions to go through the joint district priorities and budget priority committees and later to the provincial executive councils before going to the Government.
He said the document had none of his “marking” on it.
He said it was a normal practice for him, as the then Minister for National Planning, to put a mark on submissions to avoid them getting misplaced or lost.
“I did not mark it down to the then (National) Planning Secretary that time because it was never approved by other levels of government,” he told the court.
The court heard earlier this week that the Karlai plantation is owned by the Rabaul Archdiocese and was leased out to Mesu Investment Ltd in 2004.
Mesu Investment Ltd had engaged private consultant John Diugu and Associates in 2008 to conduct a feasibility study and documentation of the Karlai planation to source funds under the National Agriculture Development programme to rehabilitate and convert the plantation to an estate.