In a covert operation led by former rebel planner Ben Kamda, it was carefully and professionally executed.
Speaking to Loop PNG, Kamda said the expatriate, who sounded like an American, came to Bougainville and started preaching in Buka town. Then he moved down to Arawa in central Bougainville and was residing in a local guest house.
“Under the table he had already set up his network which involved some of our politicians and top brass whom I can’t name right now,” Kamda said.
“He was in Arawa awaiting a gold bar from across the border from the Solomon Islands in which he was fooled,” he said.
The picture of the gold bar was sent through WhatsApp to him when someone close to him saw it from the back and alerted Kamda and the others.
“We still needed to prove that he was a gold buyer so he needed logistics to go preaching, and we invoiced him only K20 for fuel, because he was spreading the word of God,” Kamda said.
“We got the shock of our lives when he opened his brief case, bundles of hundreds and fifty’s were stacked inside amounting to a hundred thousand,” he said.
“Quickly I changed the amount to two hundred kina for fuel when I saw the money,” Kamda said.
“He gave us K200 for the fuel and we took him to a place to go preaching, that night and we told him you need to get the first flight out tomorrow which he did, right now we do not know his whereabouts but we’re suspecting he might have been used by Papua New Guineans,” Kamda said.
PIcture: Alluvial gold rush in Bougainville has attracted a lot of buyers, some genuine and some fake.