By: Roline Likas. NBC NEWS
An insider within Tutumang Development Limited today spilled the beans on how he was used and manipulated by the company to 'sweet-talk' landowners into signing the fraudulent land deals involving the SABL on New Hanover.
Councilor of Ward 17 in the Lavongai Local Level Government where the SABL are located, Mr. Kamsal Maraleu told the Commission of Inquiry that he was a major player in what transpired amongst the directors of Tutumang.
He says the company used him because of his status in the community as he can easily influence the people.
Mr. Maraleu is the elder brother of Miskus Maraleu, company lawyer of Tutumang Development Limited, and nephew to the company's chairman Mr. Peddy Yanis.
Mr. Maraleu says, Tutumang is a Malaysian company, that has been logging under various company names in Kaut, Central New Ireland and Namatanai.
After logging these areas, the company came up with a plan to go to New Hanover because of the island's vast forest resource.
But realizing the island had a lot of educated elites, they had to hand-pick people that would agree to the project.
They also selected people from the three from the 3 SABL areas of Tabut, Hoombukul, and Central New Hanover and went ahead to select interested clans that will agree.
Mr. Maraleu admitted to the Inquiry that proper procedures were not followed.
He was responsible for lending the machineries on New Hanover and whenever there was opposition from locals, they used the police to ensure they lended the machineries.
He says they never consulted the people, but only certain clan leaders that agreed to the SABL projects.
Mr. Maraleu says he was in the engine room to coordinate the company's decisions, and the company ensured that he "sweet-talked" the people into signing the land deals without understanding the forms they sign.
Mr. Maraleu broke down in the midst of the Inquiry, bringing tears to the eyes of all the educated elites of New Hanover who were present.
He also admitted that he was a signatory to the deal, that saw the 3 SABL areas of New Hanover portions 885-C, 886-C and 887-C sold to Palmasi for 1-point-6 million US dollars.
The signing was witnessed by the company lawyers.