Following an article in an Australian news site that pinpointed the president as a major shareholder, President Toroama clarified that his past business dealings were done as a private citizen.
“Bougainville Sustainable Timber Resources Limited was set up with the intent to bring in foreign investors to Bougainville to be involved in sustainable logging as well as alluvial gold projects,” he said in response to The Australian article.
“The proposed business model to be employed by the company is straightforward; identify a development project on Bougainville, identify a credible investor, liaise with the Autonomous Bougainville Government and progress the project.
“Everything would be done in compliance of the laws and regulations on Bougainville and revenue in taxes would be earned by the ABG.
“I have been in consultation with the Ombudsman Commission and the Investment Promotion Authority and my shares in the company are being divested to a third party in accordance with the law.
“I want to put to rest rumours that I will be entertaining cronyism and business partners to create a monopoly over Bougainville’s resources. That was a bad precedent by the past government and my Presidency will not be compromised by it.
“From the outset, no foreign investment in Bougainville will be done outside of the Bougainville Inward Investment Act 2014.
“This act regulates all investment into Bougainville and parties wishing to bring investors into Bougainville must abide by the act.”
(President Ishmael Toroama arriving for his swearing-in ceremony on September 25th)