#header-inner img {margin: 0 auto !important; #header-inner {text-align: Center ;} Fiji Coupfourpointfive: Controversial mahogany player singled out for U.S. award

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Controversial mahogany player singled out for U.S. award

John Wagner left with Bainimarama and Khaiyum last year
The sham in the mahogany industry continues with the company formed with 'insider help' this week getting shortlisted as an industry leader in a U.S. State Department award.
 
Bryce Seru (left) of Northern Forest Resource Ltd.
Sustainable Mahogany Industries is one of 11 finalists for the 2012 US Secretary of State's Award for Corporate Excellence. 

SMI is, of course, the company established with the help of Nur Bano Ali, the accountant aunt of the illegal attorney general, Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum, who drew up the decree that has allowed the industry to be revamped.


Industry sources say she was paid $300k by former SMI director and New Zealander, Peter White, to lobby for SMI to be given the exclusive licence for the G1 and G2 logs.


SMI was first to be awarded a licence giving it access to top grade mahogany and was supposed to make guitars but as revealed in our last story (Sawmillers: Mahogany 'reforms' give foreigners upper hand at local's expense), export figures show it is sending 90 per cent of its production offshore as rough sawn timber, largely to the Dominican Republic.

The same story revealed the true scale of how Frank Bainimarama and Khaiyum have used the mahogany decree to divvy up Fiji's green gold, shutting out local operators in favour of foreign companies and un-known new players.

The country's biggest stakeholder, the Sawmillers Association which employs close to 13-hundred workers and brings in $60 million a year, was bumped off the invite list to Bainimarama's inaugural Mahogany Council meeting last week at the last minute, despite getting the green light earlier.

The Association had for some months being trying to discuss with Bainimarama and Khaiyum concerns about the 'reforms' the pair planned to introduce via the new decree, not least the shafting of locals in favour of new players. (again see letter in previous story for full details)

Information obtained by Coupfourpointfive shows wide concern and alarm at the unwarranted privileges given to SMI, and companies such as Pacific Western Timbers, owned by American John Wagner, a shareholder of SMI.

Three other newcomers have also been given licences by the regime: Rainy Woods Ltd, Northern Forest International Ltd (an offshoot of Northern Forest Resource Ltd) run by Bryce Seru, and Wood Moulders Fiji Ltd. (see attachments)

According to the U.S. State Department website, the  nominees for the U.S. corporate award that has shortlisted SMI as an industry leader, are usually made by the chiefs of missions.

Winners in the past have included General Motors, Coca Cola, Motorola and Xerox although in recent years we note the recipients have become more obscure.  Last year's winner was Sahlman Seafoods, Incorporated, Nicaragua; Procter & Gamble, Nigeria; Procter & Gamble, Pakistan.

The Suva based US ambassador, Frankie Reed, told the Fiji Times the selection committee was 'impressed by SMI's assistance in developing the Fiji Pure Mahogany brand by supporting indigenous forest reservation and conservation through the exclusive use of sustainable produced and certified mahogany'.

"In fact, Sustainable Mahogany Industries has just been announced as one of only 11 worldwide finalists for the 2012 US Secretary of State's Award for Corporate Excellence which recognises the outstanding contributions of US businesses and entrepreneurs around the world.

"We thank Sustainable Mahogany Industries again for their positive model of American corporate social responsibility."

According to Fiji Times, Bainimarama revealed recently that 'SMI has a substantial number of women working in the sawmill, operating state-of-the-art machines in making world-class guitar components out of Fiji mahogany.'

Bainamarama himself was quoted as saying the selections committee applauded SMI's efforts in 'empowering women through employment and professional advancement; and implementing exemplary occupational health and safety processes.'

57 comments:

  1. The Mahogany story is quite simple. We have stands in Fiji worth about 900 million US$. If Khaiyum and his green goons can only divert 10% of this into their pockets they will laugh all the way to the bank in Hong Kong.

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  2. That is the main controversy surrounding the real value of Mahogany, its far far less than USD900M. People got trap into the hype and found out later its all a farce.

    The real open book valuation conducted by a reputable company and then publicise value to public so everyone know what it is. I estimate it would around $100M FJD only if we are lucky.

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  3. time will tell.....whose lying..
    but truth be told.. money can buy any individual who has fallen prey to it and live a life of luxury....
    look around ..they are easy to pick out in the streets of Suva...
    God Bless Fiji

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  4. @ Ask

    "If" Ha! Have no doubt that their lunchmoney has already left the country and they are happy to ignore everyone's complaints. I wonder where FUCAK is up to in their "investigations"?

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  5. new players playing the old game in the new fiji which is not too different from the old fiji - the pre-coup fiji.
    there most certainly isn't any "paradigm shift"! unless we have given Kuhn's notion a new meaning in the "new fiji'.that's very possible in a dictatorship.

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  6. Dina says...

    People of Fiji.... we thought that the objective of Frank's cookoo coup was clean up corruption campaign?

    So what is this....nepotism, corruption, soli-sona tion, scratch-my-back & ass-tion, cranck-tion or what.

    Maybe the military have differnt interpreation and meaning of what is REAL BIG TIME CORRUPTION...

    maca walega na voup boi dada qo...

    sa mai vutuniyau kina na o ira kana -loto.

    Bribery - must be learning from our PNG bro's....

    Good Luck Aiyaz and Frank - your rewards await you and your family in heaven...

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  7. This is an extremely sad day for American Foreign policy and the prestigious ACE Award. Americans always mess up. The way Frankie Reed is licking up to the regime is shameful and i wonder how they will react when a democratically elected government comes in. they will jump ship but you dont play these games with younger generation Fijians. i am not surprised Americans have lost respect of younger generation with their cunning diplomacy. Fiji Sawmillers Association must rite directly to President of America to tell them the reality on ground regarding this fake company. they are driving local sawmillers out of business, they are exporting 90% sawn logs, their work practices are pathetic and most of credit they claim for is on paper only. How Frankie Reed can be sold out by these guys is beyond my imagination. Probably this saws the quality of American diplomats we get these days. Shame on Americans!

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  8. C4.5 you have put it so brilliantly in the very first sentence :
    The SHAM in the mahogany industry continues with the company formed with INSIDER HELP this week getting shortlisted as an industry leader in a US State Department award.
    Now can you beat that?!
    The award completes the farce.

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  9. C4.5 you have put it so brilliantly in the very first sentence :
    The SHAM in the mahogany industry continues with the company formed with INSIDER HELP this week getting shortlisted as an industry leader in a US State Department award.
    Now can you beat that?!
    The award completes the farce.

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  10. Another 2006 coup supporter [fiji citizen]indefinite nz residence has secured a contract in one of the remote area in fiji. Details of this conman will be released in due course.

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  11. Can anyone tell me where is Mr Lekh Ram Vayeshnoi?

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  12. And now we're being associated with Nicaragua, Nigeria and Pakistan. How embarrassing.

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  13. Oh my lord!!!!!!........This is so disturbing in so many ways. Is this true?? SMI has a lot of explaining to do, as with PM and AG.

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  14. We'll they might as well call off the elections, because no ones going to vote for them now with this sort of carry on. Except of cause the blind Fijian landowners.

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  15. "Recipients have become more obscure".....hahaha, with a line up of countries like that, you'd think. Now we're on that list too thanks to fat cats in suites like SMI directors.

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  16. With the state of American Politics these days, I'm not surprised at the line up of recent past winners.

    What a sham!!

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  17. Doesn't the PM looks good on that
    Guitar?Who know, he could be thinking for a new job after 2014?
    Maybe his job to destruct the Union power in Fiji, is finally over?

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  18. 1.5 million vs 60 million

    Only in Fiji will we take the 1.5 million and forget the 60 million.

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  19. I heard that SMI also still owes landowners 30 million for all the G1 and G2 logs delivered so far. They've only paid 1.5 mill to AG and PM, but theres not sign of it.

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  20. Its no wonder that ASk is dying from kidney damage. The landowners have spoken and not in a good way. You cant mess with the Fijian Vanua!!! It will kill you.

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  21. SMUG BASTARD giving out the National Budget!!!

    Thats our F$%ken money......F$%K YOU!!!

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  22. Women working in the industry is great and we should promote that. But that doesn't give Pm and ASk the right to jeopardise the careers of 13 Hundred other workers in the industry. That's just preposterous!!! Where's the common-sense in that. Is there any??? I think the money is getting the better of them.

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  23. These foreigners are sucking some serious Cock. Pics are funny as hell while thinking about it ha!ha!

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  24. Elizabeth Powell signed of on this list. SAY NO MORE!!!

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  25. Hey Frankie, get your people to do some back ground checks please!!! You cannot be seen to be supporting corrupt acts such as this. Your supposed to help us in Fiji. Your support for SMI and ASK will do you no good. If you cant help this country, then go home, and send us someone who can help. Take your head out of the corrupt cloud and do your due diligence. You guys are supposed to be good at gathering intel, so use that.

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  26. "American Corporate Social Responsibility".........Really guys!!!...Really!!!

    "Corporate Social Responsibility" is a bad enough Joke, then you go and slap "American" in front of it to make it an even bigger joke.

    We are No Fucken Arab's.....KNOW & REMEMBER THAT.

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  27. Good Luck to SMI for when all those women workers go on strike haha

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  28. Just saw Bryce Seru's Facebook page. He's company profile says he's sending bamboo to china for the panda's!!!!!

    I'm confused, I thought the subject was mahogany!!?? Go figure.

    Vinaka Elisapeta Powell

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  29. Chorwa Lekhram Veshnoi (Mahen chordarys best man) is in New Zealand

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  30. Priscilla Queen of the DesertNovember 22, 2012 at 4:25 PM

    Sounds like Frank and Khaiyum have inflated the value of the mahogany industry if what above bloggers are saying is right. Supposedly a billion dollar market but from what I'm hearing that's not the case.

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  31. Hope these foreign dweebs have also done their homework otherwise there'll be tears all round at the disappointing results. Anyway, I'm for jobs but it doesn't like the few women employed by SMI is enough. I had a look at their website and the team is of five people if I recall correctly. If the Sawmillers info is correct, 13 hundred workers is a lot more impressive. Should the U.S. Corporate Award have gone to locals???

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  32. Is Mrs Reed smoking weed? Her rather flowery endorsement of SMI might get her a mention at the U.S. State Dept but the laugh will be on her if SMI is proven to be the dud it looks like it is.

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  33. @ Anon
    fiji now associated with Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan and that's very fitting.

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  34. Bainimara presented a people's budget. Rabuka and Qarase were never able to present one like this budget. Baini is doing a good job. Keep it up, People's Prime Minister.

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  35. Who does this site represent, if against the government with a passion?

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  36. US Diplomats have a rich history of getting things wrong. Remember Marcos Philipines? There are many more examples. Just because someone is an ambassador it does not mean they can't be wrong about things. They can be awfully wrong in reading the true situation because they like other people can come under certain influences and the sway of special interest. This Reed ambassador is clearly not made of the same stuff as that Sadique fala who was US ambassador in fiji at the time of the speight coup. Now that was a solid fala. no fucking around with him!

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  37. Voceke holding a guitar? He can't strum, the only thing he can strum is Khaiyum's balls.

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  38. This is the problem when we are being led by an illegal leader who only cares about himself and his cronies.He should be ashamed of himself - KANALOTO.

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  39. Is that Ferdinand Marcos framed pictire in the wall ?

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  40. Editor,
    It doesn't make sense does it? I mean if Fiji got an international award for a mangrove planting project why would anyone in his right mind want to then chop down a mangroove forrest any where in Fiji?
    Obviously some people have very little knowledge of the critical role the mangrove plays in the ecological environment - both for the marine life and the coastal communities.
    And,that's rather pathetic considering the amount of information that is readily available on it.
    Perhaps the problem is not one of knowledge but of the modern value system.
    For some money must come before all else in their order of values.
    This problem is of course not unique to Fiji.
    sincerely,
    Rajend

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  41. Both Frankie's getting it wrong here but I don't think we can rely on Elisapeta Powell either. I hear she is rock solid behind the government and has been so instiutionalised she is a lost cause. As the other blogger said hope she's a survivor.

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  42. I am deeply disappointed in the 2013 budget announced by the ILLEGAL [NOT 'Honorable' as shown on opening plaques and always mentioned in the Sun] PM!!!!!!
    The Fiji Sun has categorically and specifically quoted the so called illegal leaders that "..those who have served their country on the war front.." should be remembered and honoured for their "..deeds and sacrifices."
    Unless I missed it, but I did not hear of any mention that the retired soldiers would get any increase in their meager and monthly Army pensions!! Neither was there any mention that they would also and at least get annual increases to cater for the increase in costs of living.
    It is obvious that all that has been said has been nothing but pure lip service!
    Bad call Frank and your illegal gang!!

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  43. What a budget prepared by the government? At last the days of Alliance erra has come. This type of budget was presented during Mara Government. Well one Baini. All the villages from my village are happy from Namosi. Keep up your good work.

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  44. Frank and his ILLEGAL cronies know that ex-service men are a dying lot and already, by this time are politically matured and have their individual party affiliations. So, what do they do? TARGET THE YOUNG AND INNOCENT GENERATIONS!!
    That is where the votes are, in the unlikely event we will have general elections! That is his fall back plan!!

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  45. Lekh ram working as carpark attendant and can be found at the local TAB betting on horses during off days in Auckland, in the royal oak mall.

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  46. What smi is doing to this govt,Fiji water was doing to elected govt, in change

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  47. FIJI Water won in 2004.

    More info:

    The Secretary of State's Award for Corporate Excellence (ACE), established by the State Department in 1999, recognizes the important role U.S. businesses play abroad as good corporate citizens. The Award sends a strong signal of the Department's commitment to further corporate social responsibility, innovation, exemplary practices, and democratic values worldwide. The ACE helps define America as a positive force in the world. It highlights our increasing outreach to the business community, our public-private partnerships, and our public diplomacy efforts. The ACE recognizes the contributions business makes to improving lives at home and abroad.

    U.S. companies are nominated by Chiefs of Mission worldwide and the winners are chosen by the Principals' Award Selection Committee. The Committee, chaired by the Under Secretary for Economic, Energy, and Agricultural Affairs, includes a representative of the Secretary, the Under Secretary for Global Affairs, the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, and various Assistant Secretaries. It also includes senior officials from the U.S. Agency for International Development, Overseas Private Investment Corporation, MCC, and Department of Commerce. Winners are recognized with a handsome, copyrighted award statue unveiled in a formal ceremony hosted by the Secretary of State. Former Secretaries of State Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell and Madeleine Albright presented the ACE awards during their tenures. The ceremony, attended by Congressional staff, the Diplomatic Corps, and leaders from the business, NGO, and academic communities, includes participation, via satellite, of Chiefs of Mission whose candidates have won, in-country company executives, and invited guests at post. The ACE event is open to the media and broadcast worldwide.

    Past winners include both multinational and small-to-medium size enterprises. Historically, the Selection Committee, which meets during the summer months, has recognized two to three winners based on a thorough discussion and evaluation of the nominations submitted. Past winners include:

    2011 - Sahlman Seafoods, Incorporated, Nicaragua; Procter & Gamble, Nigeria; Procter & Gamble, Pakistan.
    2010 - Cisco Systems, Israel; Mars, Inc., Ghana; Denimatrix, Guatemala.
    2009 - Trilogy International Partners, Haiti; TOMS Shoes, Argentina.
    2008 - Cargill, China; SURevolution, Colombia.
    2007 - GE, Indonesia; Transnational Automotive Group, Cameroon.
    2006 - General Motors, Colombia; Goldman Sachs, Chile; Sambazon, Brazil.
    2005 - Cisco Systems, Jordan; Lapa Rios Ecolodge, Costa Rica.
    2004 - Motorola, Brazil; FIJI Water, Fiji.
    2003 - Chevron/Texaco, Nigeria; U.S. Steel Corporation, the Slovak Republic.
    2002 - Coca-Cola, Egypt; Chindex International, China.
    2001 - Ford Motor Company, South Africa; SELCO, Vietnam.
    2000 - Motorola, Malaysia; Rayonier New Zealand; Land O’Frost, Uruguay.
    1999 - Xerox, Brazil; F.C. Schaffer & Associates, Ethiopia.

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  48. Elizabeth Powell is a bloody joke, had you done your due diligence we would not have these carpet beggars in Fiji.

    But, that is asking too much from someone who went from air hostess to PS - power corrupts!

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  49. Paradigm shift - the goons' catch phrase for the month.
    Hahahaha.....paradigm shift my arse. Who are you trying to impress and fool with your BS.

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  50. @Anonymous 7.11AM
    the "paradigm shift" BS was in my recollection used before by FB in one of his prepared speech at some USP event. not hard to guess who might have helped in the preparation of that speech. some arse-sucker from USP.
    and, FB is not the only one given to using it, several other semi-literate regime functionaries have been mouthing it to show how very intellectual they are.they fool no one.

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  51. @Anon 8:54

    E Sega. Keimami sega ni dua vata kei Bainimarama se kei na nona matanitu.

    O vei lasu taki cei tiko?

    Sa levu ga na vei tauri lavo tiko vei kemuni, sa qai mai leqa tiko o keimami na lewe ni vanua i Namosi.

    Drau vi vutu sona kei Bainimarama.

    Au saka na kai namosi dina.

    WE DO NOT SUPPORT THIS GOVERNMENT. SOME OF OUR CHIEFS MIGHT, BUT WE THE PEOPLE OF THE PROVINCE WILL SORT THEM OUT. TIME IS COMING VERY SOON. WE WILL SHUT DOWN MINE AS WELL.

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  52. A paradigm shift -- isn't that what Bainimarama does in his pants while sprinting through the cassava patch?

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  53. kai namosi dina@9:51am...Please don't be deft,you need a source of
    money to develop the province of Namosi?The PM has found one for you
    and it will depend on all of you to
    make it work? Don't close your mind
    and vision toward the future! Like the PM had said; it's a paradigm shift?

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  54. @Heckler
    that's not 'paradigm shift' that's 'pygamy shit

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  55. does anyone know what Elizabeth Powells qualifications are?
    Is she a MBA from a reputable business school, or an experienced business executive or public policy specialist?
    I'm serious here. What is her field of experience and qualifications?
    Anyone?
    No slander and bogus CVs please. Legit material only.
    Thanks

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  56. @ ANON 2:44

    WE WANT SUSTAINABLE LIVING FOR FUTURE GENERATION TO CONTINUE. NA CAVA NA MINE QORI VEI IKO? OCEI O IKO???

    DRAU VI VUTU KEI VOREQE KEI NA MINE QORI. ENA KAUTA GA MAI NA MATE KEI NA DEBT VEI IRA NA LUVEDA.

    YOU OPEN YOUR EYES, BECAUSE YOU ARE CLEARLY SHORT-SIGHTED AT THE EFFECTS OF MINING TO THE FUTURE OF OUR VILLAGE COMMUNITIES. MONEY IS NOT EVERYTHING, AND WE ALL KNOW THAT EXPLOITING OUR MINERAL RESOURCES WILL NOT LAST LONG TERM. THIS GOVERNMENT IS ONLY FILLING THEIR POCKETS, AS WITH OPPORTUNIST PEOPLE LIKE YOU.

    OUR EYES ARE OPEN. YOURS IS CLEARLY CLOSED AND YOUR MOUTH OPEN SUCKING ON BAI'S DICK.

    WE WILL NOT EARN OUR MONEY AT THE EXPENSE OF OUR CHILDREN'S FUTURE. WE'LL DO IT THROUGH AGRICULTURE AND SME'S.

    DROU VI CAI KEI BAINIMARAMA, KEI IRA NONA INVESTORS LASULASU. YOU'RE ALL A BUNCH OF ASS GIVERS FOR SHORT TIME MONEY. NOT ONE OF YOU HAVE DONE RESEARCH (PROPER AND THOROUGH) ON THESE COMPANIES OR CONSIDERED THE LONG TERM ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS; OR MAYBE YOU HAVE, BUT ITS CLEAR YOU ALL DON'T CARE ABOUT THE NEXT GENERATION OUR ENVIRONMENT.

    TAMATA KAISI O IKO.

    L. MATANITOBUA

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  57. hahahaha good stuff Mr Matanitobua just leave our land and minerals alone Voceke.

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