Before APID dwells further into the issue, we wish to strongly register our disappointment over Solomon Star for not having the courtesy to first consult and cross check its findings with the APID Office before going to print.
Should Sunday Star have done so, they would have come out with much more accurate facts on the issue instead of confusing and/or misleading the people of West Rennell and the public at large on your one-sided reporting behaviour.
However, to say the least, media attack is not a new thing and APID is always ready and willing to respond to issues surrounding its operations and clarify its operational position including this recent media release.
On the issue of the $3M unpaid bill, APID herewith wish to clarify that we have already paid $1.6M to the Government; hence the amount of $3M as reported is unverified reporting.
Similarly, the 30 years lease period as reported is not true as the legal lease period is for 25 years only.
The remaining 5 years is the grace period awarded by the Government to APID.
On the issue of disbursement of funds including arrears as mentioned, APID had and will always continue to uphold the principals of transparency and accountability in its operations and is fully aware and fully committed to settle all those who are legally entitled to payments that appeared in our books as soon as things are properly settled with the landowners.
As we speak to date, there are still a number of court cases filed against APID by the various landowners themselves, and this is one of the disturbing factors that hindered APID in facilitating its obligated plans of actions.
This is to say that these court cases must need to be settled by the courts first before APID can further its commitments in disbursement of funds.
Another issue of concern is with regards to proper demarcation of land in West Rennell. APID has fully committed itself on the issue and is currently working with the land trustees through the office of the Commissioner of Lands to properly ascertain true land ownership on the concerned areas of operations.
APID is not denying the fact that it is one of its legal obligations that the true landowners receive their legal entitlements when it comes to disbursement of funds.
All legal outstanding bills and other entitlements will always remain the priority area for APID to settle once the issue of land demarcation is done.
It is also worth mentioning here that logging activities carried out in the area by different logging companies has also caused disturbances to APID mining operations.
However, this lease agreement is a long term benefits for the landowners and the actions taken by one of the trustee would only deprive the landowners of their entitlement.
Finally, APID would like to appeal to all landowners and trustees to work together with the company for the benefit of the people of West Rennell.
APID Media Desk Office