Nationwide claims disappearance of RIPEL
chairman ‘in thin air’ a cover up
The Nationwide Company which holds 20% shares in the Russell Islands Plantation Estate Limited (RIPEL) on behalf of former RIPEL workers has again call on authorities to arrest RIPEL Chairman Patrick Wong for “illegally residing in the country”.
Nationwide RIPEL Director David Tuhanuku said that it
is strange that someone who has been on the headline news all the time in
Solomon Islands has suddenly disappeared and no one seems interested to know
what has happened to him.
“Here is someone who was regularly on the front page
of our major newspapers, publicly speaking out against some of our leaders
including Solomon Islands Prime Minister and the Governor of the Central Bank
and he just disappeared into thin air and no one is interested in him anymore,”
Mr Tuhanuku said.
The Nationwide Director then called on the Immigration
Department and the Royal Solomon Islands Police to find Wong and deport him
from Solomon Islands immediately in line with what Wong had always said “no one
is above the law”.
“Nationwide is confident its information that Mr Wong’s
five year residential permit had been revoked by the Immigration Department and
he had been asked by the Government in a letter to voluntarily leave the
country,” he said.
He said that he is worried about reports that he is
trying to mislead authorities by giving the impression that he had already left
the country when he is still living in the Solomon Islands.
“Nationwide is considering options to take the matter
Patrick Wong before his departure to Australia last
month confirmed to this paper when he was at the airport that he was leaving
The RIPEL Chairman who is an Australian citizen had
been at the centre of focus when a legal deal for the Government to payout
The $24 million deal failed when the CBSI found out
that there were no traces of any investments from offshore by Mr Wong.
Mr Wong insisted he proved to CBSI evidence of the money
he pumped into the country to keep RIPEL afloat but were from his various
sources and not the mortgagees.
He had been accusing the government for failing to
honour the agreement and threatened to sue for RIPEL loses at Yandina.
He claimed the government failed to uphold law
resulting in the ransacking and burning down of offices and stealing of copra
from RIPEL in Yandina.
RIPEL was one of the country’s most economical
investments which specialized in Copra production.
RIPEL went bust in 2004 when workers turned against the company and ransacked offices on claims they were ill treated by a new General Manager John Whiteside and other issues.
By Ednal Palmer
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