#header-inner img {margin: 0 auto !important; #header-inner {text-align: Center ;} Fiji Coupfourpointfive: Ghanian names the US investor believed to have lost thousands

Monday, April 18, 2011

Ghanian names the US investor believed to have lost thousands

HAGERMAN: The former CEO of Taunovo Hotel (left) was named by Paul Kofi Freeman, as the US investor alleged to have lost $US250,000 to Renee Lal. (picture 2008 Fiji Times).


The Ghanian businessman, Paul Kofi Freeman, insists he has never met Frank Bainimarama even though it's alleged Renee Lal tried to squeeze $30,000 out of him for Christmas presents for the illegal leader.

Freeman says Lal had suggested he meet Bainimarama because it would help his plans to establish an HQ in Suva for an oil exploration company. But he claims the meeting never happened.

In our last story, Freeman described himself as a business consultant (we say he is more a fixer and agent) who'd come to Fiji confident of finding oil after talking to geologists from Japan and the United Kingdom. He says he had a history of similar work in Africa and elsewhere.

The 33 year old says Lal and Padarath were helping him establish his HQ in the Dolphin Plaza on Victoria Parade in Suva but they had a fallout and he was left high and dry.

He claims he paid Lal and Padarath about $75,000 to get him set up, and that $10,000 was a retainer for Lal but they didn't deliver on the work. Media stories also cited a $150,000 exploration fee but this wasn't confirmed by Freeman.

He did allege to us, though, that he was told by Lal he'd need more money to give to Bainimarama and the regime and that a request for $30,000 came while he was in Japan. He claims he told her he didn't have that sort of money and it wasn't "how we do business."

He says that's when Lal and Padarath reported falsely to immigration officials he was an HIV carrier. "When I texted her 'No' from Japan that led to a big argument that caused my arrest. When I came back, I was arrested and made to give a HIV test. I tested negative."

He says he was made to test twice for HIV, once in November and again in January.

In investigating this story, Coupfourpointfive has established that there are several camps behind the scenes. There's the Renee Lal supporters, the Freeman supporters and a camp for Dilip Jamnadas, Lal's former business partner at the law firm, Jamnadas Associates.

Jamnadas was not part of the original story but he was brought into it later by those critical of the 'shabby' way he allegedly treated Renee Lal, who her supporters say has done a lot for the practice. It was also revealed to us that the FICAC spokesperson, Erica Lee, (remember the FICAC is supposed to be investigating this fraud) is the fiance of Dilip Jamandas' son, Karl.

Suffice to say supporters and detractors of those mentioned (with or without their knowledge or permission) have, in one way or another, been feeding information to Coupfourpointfive as well as posting inside information via comments.

Freeman told us he hardly knew Jamnadas but people have been quick to report that he is seen with Jamnadas almost every day and that on the day Lal was taken into custody, the Ghanian and Lal's former business partner were seen congratulating each other.

Note, though, that just Ben Padarath has been charged with anything - providing false information to a public servant, ie telling immigration officials Freeman had HIV. As far as we know, Renee Lal and Paul Kofi Freeman have not been charged, with FICAC still investigating.

We asked Freeman how he felt about Lal and Padarath being asaulted by military because of his complaint to FICAC. His answer was: "We are all Christians. Nobody wants to see another fellow being beaten but whatever those two do will be repeated against them."

Many people continue to be suspicious of the Ghanian, saying his business venture is being funded illegally. Freeman insists his money, like him, is legit although we have been unable to independently verify this. "My money comes from the bank so it means it's not laundry money. I have investors in Japan, the US and China and South Africa."

He says he has a lot of interested investors, people who believe there's oil in Fiji and who'd be happy to be part of any venture to find and extract that oil. People like Dr Macharia Irungu, one of those listed as a shareholder in Freeman's company South Pacific Natural Resources, who he says he knew from Africa where he was working as an oil consultant.

Irungu remains a mystery but apparently visited Suva last year in May, leading a delegation that met interim government officials working in the area of minerals and resources.

Freeman named a more well-known figure - Mitch Hagerman - as the overseas investor alleged to have lost money to Renee Lal. Hagerman is the former founder of the collapsed luxury Taunovo Bay Hotel on the Coral Coast.

Coupfourpointfive has tried to make contact with Hagerman but has been unsuccessful in securing an interview.

But Freeman says Hagerman deposited $US250,000 into a holding account for Lal and that it was for the Fiji National Provident Fund (FNPF) payments and the salary of the workers but no documents/receipt have been received by Hagerman's investment company to confirm the payment.

Freeman says he knows this because he's met with Hagerman four times to discuss the purchase of the Taunovo hotel. 

He says Lal's sister, a property lawyer, helped make the arrangements for him to meet Hagerman in the US.

Freeman has also been accused of marrying a local woman, Francess Raiwalui, just to stay in the country. He says there was gossip about his marriage after he revealed he had two children, twin girls in France. He says he gave the information to Renee Lal when he was asked if he had property outside of Fiji and he told her he had a house in France, where his children were living. He says from there, came the story he was already married.

See Freeman's marriage certificate

Editor's Note: Fiji media reported last week that Ben Padarath has asked the courts to allow him to travel overseas on medical grounds. His lawyer, Rajendra Chaudhry, says medical reports show his client sustained brain injuries as a result of being assaulted by military soldiers. A decision is expected this week.

21 comments:

mark manning said...

I'm thinking of establishing an underwater fantasy land 5 kilomtres off Suva, a bit like an undersea Disneyland Park.
I'm looking for investors and am offering 1,000 shares @ $1,000,000 per share.

Anonymous said...

I am not sure if Freeman is innocent or not but he is definitely an idiot if he tries to paint Mitch Hagerman as an legitimate honest businessman...Mitch and his accomplice Tony Alfaro fled this country after racking up tens of millions in debts to hundreds of honest creditors...if I was Freeman I would be doing everything I could to keep my name as far from Hagerman and Alfaro as possible!

Anonymous said...

@ M&M.
I'm thinking of establishing Nukalau as a working Prison Island
Theme Park - all be there - meet & greet on the beach.

Anonymous said...

FREEMAN GOT THE COPY OF SCMS LTD OIL/GAS LICENCES THAT WAS ISSUED IN FEB 2008.
HE GOT SOPAC DOCUMENTS AND OTHER INFO FROM TIM/RAJESH .
RAJESH DID ARRANGE MEETING WITH MINISTERS FOR FREEMAN AND DELEGATION IN FIJI.
AFTER THE MEETING WITH MINISTERS/MRD . FREEMAN MOVES AWAY WITH TIM TO FORM NEW COMPANY WITH BEN/REENE.
ALL BACK FIRED.
SO WE KNOW NOW PEOPLE GOT SELFISH AND STARTED TO DO THINGS ON THEIR OWN.
IT SEEMS NOW MARTIN/TIM/FREEMAN AND OTHERS HAVE USED FIJI PEOPLE INFORMATION.
THE GOVT SHOULD STOP OVERSEAS PEOPLE TO EXPLOITED LOCALS.THATS BAD BUSINESS.

GREED PAYS said...

FREEMAN WILL TRIP UP BUT SALUTORY LESSON ABOUT EAGER INVESTORS AND LAX GOVERNMENT PROTOCOLS. ANY IDIOT, FROM AFRICA, THE US OR MALAYSIA, CAN SEE FIJI IS FOR THE TAKING. NOT THE FIRST TIME AND NOT THE FIRST.

Anonymous said...

FUNNY NOTE:

THE MARRIAGE CERTIFICATE WAS DULY SOLEMNIZED ON THE 1st of April 2011... April Fools Day!! :)

Anonymous said...

3sri lankan including CM resign
AG should blame their cricket team for resigning, cant be pay cos they infomed may be they afraid faggot gates will start poking their bum like army boys after padarath shared his pain and his lawyer rejend shared the same in2000

california dreaming said...

anon!1.15pm why did the government let hagerman and alforo get away? frank's anti-corruption machinery would've been in existence surely at the time? anyway, check them out on facebook; they seem to be living free and easy in sunny california.

Anonymous said...

Ben Padarath is trying to escape the law by traveling overseas on medical grounds.C4.5 should get copy of medical report for evidence of injuries.

I Taukei said...

Everyone in this story is a bloody foreigner dealing in corruption with the king of lasulasu,Bainimarama.

They should all be deported.

RASSIA EXILE said...

Mitch Hagerman,

For your application of $150 million SLIP under Income Tax Act... you was only approved of the claim for Stage 1 of the SLIP for $20 million exemption and soon after that you let Taunovo Resort into receivership... you and All ACCOUNTANTS AND LAWYERS, HOTELIERS guilty of such practice in the Tourism Industry should be investigated...your manipulation of how Government operates will soon catch up with you....WARAKA, NAMAKA, NA VEICEBURAKI ME SA TEKIVU MADA......NI SA YADRA

Anonymous said...

I think you will find that Hagermans lawyers ie Renee and Dilip helped him slip out of the country.....there is a lot of dirt to be uncovered in the Taunovo Bay story that has so far slipped away from the media spotlight!

Sammy T said...

FICAC supposedly on top of corruption cases but what are they doing about this lot?

Fiji Loyal said...

Can you blame Padarath for trying to do a runne? It seems the government and FICAC are prepared to move on him but not the other two players - Renee Lal and Paul Freeman. It would appear the regime tinks Padarath is dispensible because he is already a well-established 'con man' but is avoiding going after Lal seemingly becasue she is connected to the attorney general. As I said, can you blame Padarath.

Oil-ei said...

The only oil Freeman has is snake oil. Anyone dealing with him is either stupid or a fellow crook.

Resort Boy said...

Hagerman wouldn't want to be talking to anyone that can rake up the dirt. What makes him think he can pay back that FNFP money and come back to Fiji? He and Alfaro were allowed to treat Fiji like their playground but truth was they weren't rich at all, as we came to see. Actually, everyone saw but Frank.

mark manning said...

@ anon 130p.m.
I suggested this in early 2007 :-
http://sculpturebythesea.com/

Sa rauta na lasu Ben said...

Funny to hear Ben Padarath requesting for medical treatment overseas. records showed that just before first trial hearing, Ben was escorted by officers of the law to a certain location in Suva where he was observed by civilians to be walking finely on his two legs, chatting to officers like a normal person. There were bandages to be seen but Ben seemed strong and fine.
Surprisingly the very next day, when his case was called before the courts Ben showed up to court in a wheelchair, looking half dead. Sa rauta mada na lasu Ben, o vakalialiai cei tiko. Ni da tamata lamulamu ga, kua gone ni levu na gusu, bau sogota mada na gusumu. Sa keimami kila tu qo na kena ka levu na gusumu baleta ni rau tautauvata ga kei na kena ka levu na nomu sala ni magiti.

Anonymous said...

Is the President doing some sort of a rain dance or something?

Anonymous said...

You guys see the Fiji Village story about 'others' being charged alongside BPadarath?

Anonymous said...

O Ben dau manumanusoni! Epilepsy big time like the con artist that he is!