Leonard Fong Roka
In 2013 the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) created a company referred to as Bougainville Import/Export Limited, with a Port Moresby based Chinese, Jason Fong. The company’s Investment Promotion Authority (IPA) records lists top Bougainville parliamentarians like current President Dr. John Momis, and subordinates like Albert Kinani as directors and
But the company had setbacks; however, the ABG-Jason Fong creation then, Bougainville is now undergoing an uncontrolled rush on its cottage industry that the Bougainville Constitution’s Section 22, 23 and 24 indicates must be owned or preserved for the people of Bougainville.
On this ABG-Jason Fong pavement now Bougainville’s Buka Town has Asian businesses like Norak Trading, BCM Trading, Happy Sound Trading, and a few other tentacle operations.
And all these do not pay tax to the Buka Internal Revenue Commission (IRC).
This is because this syndicate has a problematic business operation strategy. For example, under BCM Trading, there are a number of retail outlets around Buka Town. All these shops operate under the single BCM Trading’s IPA certification. However, when it comes to noting their cash incomes (returns, etc), BCM Trading’s bank statements do not prove its other BCM Trading branches are depositing into its bank account.
In the IPA certificate for BCM Trading, the Siwai lady married to the Asian manager who also had left his wife and children in China is noted as the director/shareholder but she has no statutory obligations or requirements but rather that is with her Chinese husband.
Which means the marriage is also a business marriage to exploit Bougainville.
Furthermore, this syndicate has one tax agent based in Port Moresby. According to investigations, the man who aliases between this syndicate and the government authorities is one common figure shared by all other Asian businesses in other parts of PNG.
This tax agent prepares tax returns and financial reports for the entire network and in Bougainville’s Internal Revenue Commission (IRC) approaches these numerous Asian shops in Buka, they all refer them to the common tax agent in Port Moresby; and in such an arrangement, Bougainville loses much taxable income.
The Bougainville arm of this syndicate is also breaking PNG labour laws under the auspices of the ABG politicians.
Most employees of these shops have work permits for Rabaul and Hagen and other PNG areas and not Bougainville. But the cunning strategy of avoiding attention is the fly-in-fly-out practice noted by the Bougainville employees of these Asian shops.
‘Every fortnight,’ Josephine Dumi, a Gogohe shop assistant to Happy Sound Trading, said, ‘we see new Chinese coming and going.
Such a business operations have Bougainville getting nothing in areas like personal income tax for the payroll records are fluid and hard to keep track of by the IRC.
‘You cannot see them during the day but you could be amazed at night when they get together at their new community hall near the New Dawn on Bougainville offices. There are many and many of them now here in Buka and they tell us they want to go further to Arawa and Buin, too.’
But in Buka, unlike the Bougainville mainland it is hard to remove them now by force since they are protected by politicians.
Local Buka people are also greatly benefiting from rent paid by this syndicate for the short term but for the long term self reliance for Bougainville is doomed.
Bougainvillean employees in the Happy Sound Trading said their employee is paying K30 000 a month to a local Gogohe businessman and politician so far. Also, the vice president of ABG, Patrick Nisira, has his security firm that protects all these syndicate business operations.
All this is happening under ABG’s wishes for a better Bougainville.