CONTROVERSIAL BILL COULD PUSH FINSCHHAFEN TO BE SOLD TO FOREIGN COMPANY, ATLAS LEDGER

Finschhafen MP, Hon Renbo Paita is expected to push a bill through parliament next week to create a Special Economic Zone in Finschhafen for the BLOCKCHAIN AND BITCOIN TECH

The bill did not follow democratic process of consultation with the locals, the landowners, concern government agencies like BoPNG, Lands, Immigration etc...

Attached is the copy of the Bill and the Petition raised ... and a video showing Tim Draper, the billionaire investor making the announcement in Silicon Valley of an Agreement already signed between him and PNG government without any consultation with the people of Finschhafen

People and entity of interest in this controversy...
Jack Saba, Atlas Ledger, Tim Draper, PM O'Neil, Charles Able, Sam Basil, James Marape (An agreement was made with the National Leaders with the Atlas Ledger without any consultation with the people and concerned government agencies)


Following the leakage and revelation of the details of a proposed law titled, "Finschhafen
Special Economic Zone Bill 2018" purportedly sponsored by the Member for Finschhafen and given notice to Parliament on 27th July 2018, we the undersigned people ofFinschhafen through this forum now seek extended support from the Opposition caucus and all responsible Members of Parliament to address this sensitive and suspicious Bill concerning our District which has been developed and processed without consultation with or contribution from the most important stakeholders -the constituents/population of Finschhafen, Moro be Province. It is also our firm belief that the proponents of this idea and Bill led by our MP Hon Renbo Paita have not consulted adequately with the Government and other relevant state agencies on the many serious broader constitutional and legal implications that are evident within the sections of this proposed law. Hence we urge all Members of Parliament to read every word of this petition and make a decision in the best interest of not only the people of Finschhafen District but of Papua New Guinea as a whole TO VOTE AGAINST THIS BILL. We will attempt to point out the relevant provisions of the Bill that is of concern to us which we have identified and gathered from our findings and from reliable professional interpretations through the numerous awareness conducted through our own initiative in this letter of petition.

POINT 1-NO CONSULTATION WITH CONTITUENTS ON THE BILL
The process followed by the MP for Finschhafen so far in tabling this Bill in Parliament without consultation with constituents back in the District is highly undemocratic and questionable for the following reasons. ·
1. 1 The Bill was never deliberated nor debated before all five (5) Finschhafen District Development Authority (FDDA) Board meetings since the current Member for Finschhafen took office last year.
1.2 There were no awareness programs carried out on the said Bill in consultation With  the land owners and the constituents of Finschhafen by way of explanation on each section of the Bill and how it will affect the interests of not only landowners and the people of Finschhafen District but of Papua New Guinea as a whole.
...
1.3 The Bill was designed without consultation and knowledge of the constituents of Finschhafen and we demand to be informed of who the author of the Bill was and what the Bill entails for us given that our land will be taken from us.

1.4 The Bill secretly made its way into Parliament without our knowledge until it was "leaked" on the 28th July 2018, news of the Bill was received in Finschhafen.

1.5 Following the leakage of the Bill the MP and his DDA team were petitioned to address the constituents on the 17th of August 2018, in Finschhafen but they Failed to do so. A copy of the Petition handed to the MP for Finschhafen Hon Renbo Paita on Tuesday 14 August in Finschhafen is at Attachment 1.
 
POINT 2 - SERIOUS CONCERNS ON THE CONSTITUTIONALITY OF THE BILL
2.1 Several provisions of the Bill mentioned below appear to be unconstitutional on the face of it and we the undersigned appeal for your careful examination of these provision as WE BELIEVE these do have serious implications for riot only the people of Finschhafen electorate but Papua New Guinea as a whole. The provisions are:

2.2 Section 3 - Purposes of the Act
This Section seeks to establish an independent framework for the establishment, development, regulation and operation of the FSEZ in the Finschhafen District of PNG in accordance with the Memorandum of Agreement Specified in Section 4 (NOT in accordance with the laws of PNG).
Section 3(b) provides that the FSEZ is exempted from the "existing government Framework" In other words, the Bill purports to vests legal powers to a private entity (The FSEZ Authority) that will operate its business with other foreign entities through a highly sophisticated system without Government regulation and scrutiny and outside of the laws of PNG. God forbid that the Government of the day should be "selling" Finschhafen District to"white collar" exploitation without fully understanding the implications of this bizarre law.

2.3 Section 4 - Memorandum of Agreement to have the Force of Law
Section 4 seeks to confer legal status for the MOA. This is VERY CONCERNING as the Memorandum of Agreement is not attached to the Bill and we the constituents have not seen it and do not know what has been agreed to hence we urge you to scrutinise it on our behalf as we believe it seeks to serve the interest of the company, Ledger Atlas Inc. at the expense of the constituents
and resource owners of Finschhafen. By conferring legal status on an MOA that propagates private interests and arrangements, the Bill clearly offends the Constitution of PNG which has a clearly defined process of law-making. Subsection 2 is also outright unconstitutional as it goes further to state under subsection 2 that any provision of any Act of Parliament that is inconsistent with provisions of the MOA is deemed to be superseded by the MOA. Subsection 3 is also unconstitutional as it subjects the State to the terms of the MOA by requiring the National, Provincial, Local-level government and all instrumentalities of the State to ensure compliance with the MOA. We the people of Finschhafen have hot been consulted on the MOA and are very alarmed by this proposed law.

2.4 Section 5 - This Act Binds the State
As provided in SS ( 1) and (2) this Bill is binding on the State and seeks a "special status" to ensure that its purposes as set out under Section 3 are fulfilled. What are the purposes of the Bill? The Blockchain Technology that is being proposed through this Bill advocates an unregulated market system operated by a foreign company that backs the crypto currency called the Bitcoin. Much of
this operation is involves highly technical knowledge and involves technology that is beyond the reach and understanding of most Papua New Guineans. Obviously the company will gain at our expense.
 
2.5 Sections 7 - 13: The FSEZ Authority
This is the "new government" that is being created by this proposed law that seeks legal recognition through this proposed law to put itself above the laws of this country by binding the State in its private dealings (Section 5) and making itself NOT answerable to the laws and institutions of the State (Section 7 (2)(b )). We, the undersigned people of Finschhafen refuse to recognise and be subjected to this "new government" that seeks to take over the legal authority of the Government of PNG and rule over our land and our natural resources without our consent. We will be SOLD if the government passes this Bill as we have no voice and.no choice in this arrangement. Our legal and constitutional safeguards are being denied by this proposed law.

2.6 Section 11 - The FSEZ Authority is Autonomous
The intent of this Bill is nowhere as clear as this provision which states:· "The Authority shall manage and administer the FSEZ independently and without aii.y direction or control from any person or body except as provided in this section. The only exception here is "general policy direction" from the Minister which must NOT be inconsistent with the objectives of this Act.
As we can see here, any reference to oversight authority by Government is only lip service as Ledger Atlas Inc. will not be subjected to direction and control by any person or any law in PNG where such direction and control seeks to enforce government regulations or enforce the rights of individuals affected by the operations of this foreign entity. This is unconstitutional and cannot be justified by a foreign entity.

2.7 Sections 14-17 and 26-The FSEZ Authority is the 'new government' of Finschhafen District?
We urge you to take a closure look at these Sections to check out who is going to be vested with all powers concerning the territorial area of Finschhafen. As it appears, the new "Ruler" of Finschhafen is the Chairman of the Board of the FSEZ. Neither the MP for Finschhafen Open, nor the Finschhafen District Development Authority nor the collective traditional resource owners of Finschhafen, not even the laws of PNG will have any say at all in what goes on in the FSEZ. A foreigner described under Section 17 (1) of the proposed law as the "Director and Regional President Pacific of Ledger Atlas Inc" is the new king of the territorial are of Finschhafen (. The same person is also the CEO of the FSEZ Authority under Section 26. See also Section 12 (Legal personality and representation of the Authority). We the undersigned people of Finschhafen do NOT know who this person is and where he comes from. But we understand that by the authority conferred under Section 17 of this proposed law, once it is passed, this person will be vested with all the powers to do his good pleasure according to the objectives of the Ledger Atlas Inc.

2.8 Section 45 - Acquisition of Land by the Authority
Section 45(1) proposes that land will be acquired under the Land Act. Noting that most of the land that is eyed for this project is customary land, it cannot be disposed of legally according to the procedure proposed under Subsection 2. Sadly, if this Bill is passed, we will have no recourse to justice as laws in place that provide protection for us as resource owners will be null and void as far as the operation of the FSEZ is concerned. Section 45(3) is outright draconian in its intentions to "deprive customary landowners of their birthright" by denying us the right to deal with our customary lands as we deem best for our people. This section requires the Authority to not only be involved in all dealings with FSEZ lands but that any dealings must be APPROVED by the authority (See Section 45(3)(a) and (b)). Who is this creature Ledger Atlas Inc. to have absolute control over our
customary land? Where is our legal right to protection of our property and how do we enforce this right if the laws and the legal jurisdiction of PNG does not apply to this foreign company? The Finschhafen people have not been consulted on this sensitive issue that touches our livelihood and our very lives and we do not sanction it under any circumstances. This is not a joke and must not be treated as one!

2.9 Other Provisions that MUST be of serious concern to you as responsible leaders of our people and should cause you to VOTE AGAINST this UNCONSTITUTIONAL Bill are as follows:
2.10 Sections 65, 66 and 67 - Application of Customs Laws

There will be no tax liability for goods imported or exported through the FSEZ by Ledger Atlas Inc.
Has PNG Customs or Department of Justice and Attorney General provided a commentary or advice on this critical revenue generating function and the practical and or potential implications associated with this proposal?

2.11 Sections 68, 69, 70 - FSEZ Environment, Employment and Immigration
The FSEZ can make its own environmental regulations or develop an MOU with the responsible Department on environmental matters under Section 68. Has the Department of Environment and Conservation been consulted on this? Section 69 proposes coordination with the Department of Labour and Industrial Relations on employment rights, permits, safety conditions and standards etc.
Also provides for certain restrictions on foreign nationals to be waivered. Section 70 provides for the Authority to issue Special Purpose FSEZ Passports or laissez passers to foreign nationals. Provisions of Section 70 is clearly contrary to various provisions of the current Migration Act. E-residency for
instance is a concept that does not exist at present and would require careful consideration to ensure that PNG's border security is not compromised. PNG Immigration must be consulted on the potential implications and risks with respect to border security, transnational crimes and more importantly
consultation with other national security agencies on the emerging critical issues of national security implications. What is the safeguard for PNG if the FSEZ is not subjected to the laws of this
country? ·

2.12 Section 71-72 -SEZ Investor Rights and Guarantees
These provisions seek more incentives for those doing business in the FSEZ. So much guarantees and rights for people who may never be physically in PNG let alone Finschhafen. What is the community and social obligations of these invisible people we are trying to give special privileges to and how can we enforce our rights?

2.13 Section 74 - Administration of Disputes
Under this section the Criminal Code Act 1974 shall apply to Criminal Offences however all administrative, civil or commercial disputes between the Government of PNG and the FSEZ operator Ledger Atlas Inc. shall be settled in international courts of arbitration. This provision undermines the Authority of the National Judicial System and makes it redundant as far as the FSEZ and Ledger Atlas Inc. is concerned. Does it make sense for the Independent State of Papua New Guinea to be seeking international arbitration for a dispute with a foreign company which it has by its wisdom granted immunity from the authority of the laws and the Courts of this country. Will not PNG look like a complete fool? This provision is absurd and outright unconstitutional and the Bill should not be
supported by any right thinking politician.

2.14 Section 77 - Offences
Section 77 appears to be an incomplete provision as it makes no mention of the penalties nor the legal jurisdiction for these created offences.

2.15 Section 78 - General Penalty
This Section appears to cater for the lack in Section 77 as it provides that; where there is no specified penalty for an offence the penalty shall be a fine not exceeding US$ I 00 000.00 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years or both and a default penalty fine not exceeding US$5,000.00 The problem is, which legal jurisdiction or Courts will apply these penalties? Certainly not the PNG Criminal Justice System as the penalties appear to be extraterritorial and beyond established sentencing guidelines. Provisions of Sections 86, 87 and 88 must also be carefully considered as with
the above provisions it is already legislating outside of the national justice system.

2.16 Section 89 and 90 - Autonomy, extraterritoriality and Exclusivity and Duration of the FSEZ
Immunity, exclusivity and extraterritorial protection by law is unconstitutional and must not be entertained.

2.17 Section 91 - Exemption from taxes
The Authority shall be exempted from income tax and customs and excise duties under any law. This means that they are not subjected to the tax laws of Papua New Guinea yet are at liberty to regulate their own operations under Section 93. Is this the intent of Government?

2.18 Section 92 - Application of Act of the National Parliament and Provincial orLLGActs
All laws of PNG does not apply to the FSEZ unless expressly provided in this Bill. This operator cannot be permitted to physically enter and interfere with our land with impunity. This is unconstitutional.

POINT 3 OUTSTANDING QUESTIONS
3.1 Finschhafen need to know the content of the MOA inclusive of the MOU which is not shown thus, the MOA derives from the MOU.
 
3.2 Section 4, subsection (3) all levels of government, arms, department, agencies and instruments take all steps to ensure compliance with the Memorandum of Agreement and with this Act. Does the constitution allow individual and private Acts as such to bind the State and not be affected by other Acts such as the Act of Parliament?

3.3 Why is FSEZ proposed laws vying to supersede the Traditional and Customary Land Act?

3 .4 Why would Finschhafen District Development Authority Board deny the Constituents the right to know the content of the Memorandum of understanding signed including the Memorandum of Agreement together with the Government of Papua New Guinea and Pacific Ledger Atlas Inc?

3.5 In section 3; Purposes of this Act (d) stipulates to maximize returns for both the State and Ledger Atlas Inc. Why would Land owners and the constituents miss out and not be beneficiary to the returns generated?

3.6 The Bill does not specify a select site for establishment OFFSEZ but only dwells on the name Finschhafen. Could it mean within the entire political boundary of Finschhafen?

3.7 Section 45, subsection 2 (c) on acquisition of land, completely denies land owners their rights to appeal, dispute, or file court petition in respect to ownership of their land. Land owners could have been assisted to enter into proper land registration procedures and land lease arrangement to be effected. Why should our land be dictated by foreign interests such as Ledger Altas Inc?

3.8 Section 46, (1) and (2) Approval of Other Lands:- Does the constitution nor the Traditional and Local Land Act allow for such Authorities/ Authority to make decisions over land other than the approved land as per section 45, 2 (a) of this proposed Act?

3.9 We see that the Act is being drafted in the sole interest of the purported Authority and not in the best interest of the Land owners nor the constituents of Finschhafen. Ledger Atlas Inc specializes in Innovative Technology services and its intentions stated herein is only to gain approval from the government to take over, manipulate and dictate its operations to suit its own desires and not
for the benefit of the constituents. Ledger Atlas Inc. has hidden motives to bring about the Blockchain Technology and gradually effect crypto currency into the PNG financial system.

3 .10 The Bank of PNG which is an institution of the national government continues to denounce on public media that no citizen is to engage or trade using crypto currencies or digital money. There is no guarantee that crypto currencies will be accepted as a medium of exchange. Investment in such digital currencies is considered very risky and speculative in nature.

3 .11 If such warning must be adhered to and is of paramount importance than how would this government get the FSEZ Bill to be passed without careful scrutiny and debate when the bottom line objective of the FSEZ directly is adverse to BPNG warnings?

3 .12 We present our petition forthwith seeking assistance where appropriate for the good of the constituents and the generation next by recognising our traditional rights and the freedom of liberty to speak for our natural rights to exist on our land.

 

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