We aggregate local news of events in Solomon Islands.
Opposition leader and MP for Aoke-Langalanga Constituency Honourable Mathew Wale has called for the sacking of the Chief of Staff for the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Robson Djokovic.
Hon. Wale also calls on Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, who is Djokovic’s uncle, to reconsider his position as Prime Minister.
The opposition leader made the call in a statement issued yesterday after the Australian newspaper reported that Djokovic is a convicted criminal in Australia.
“Mr. Djokovic was convicted for burglary, fraud and drugs offences, which Djokovic did not deny when interviewed by the Australian newspaper, but referred to them as his past,” the Australian Newspaper reported on its online website.
Other information have also revealed that Mr. Djokovic is an Australian citizen.
The Australian newspaper further revealed that Mr. Djokovic sought an AUD700,000 “consultancy” payment from Axiom Mining Ltd through a Fijian lawyer in exchange for allowing Axiom to hold on to its Isabel nickel project.
This “consultancy” payment was to be made by Axiom to a company called Echelon consulting which Mr. Djokovic is revealed to have owned 50 percent shares. Information at hand suggests also that Wilson Rano, the PMs Legal counsel and secretary of Our Party, is another shareholder.
Axiom Mining refused to comply with the demand by Djokovic.
According to recent media publications suggesting that Axiom Mining has been hit with a lot of demands for favours, these recent revelations can easily be associated with the company’s rejection of Djokovic’s demand.
The Leader of Opposition says, “The country is sick and tired of this corruption perpetrated at the highest level of government time and time again, right under the nose of the Prime Minister, at the expense of the people of Solomon Islands.”
“The inference that can be made from the information at hand is clear, Mr. Robson Djokovic and Echelon, and the Fijian lawyer were trying to personally benefit out of natural resources of Solomon Islands. These persons are close confidants and advisers of Prime Minister Sogavare. As the Chief of Staff takes direct instructions from the PM, it can also be inferred that the PM was either involved or has knowledge of matters canvassed in the allegations made by Axiom. It is unclear who the Fijian lawyer is, but it is of importance to Solomon Islands that the identity of the Fijian lawyer be revealed,” says Mr. Wale.
Mr. Wale therefore calls on the Australian Federal Police to investigate these serious allegations and to collaborate with the RSIPF. “If these allegations are proven, the Prime Minister must consider his position and do the right thing by the people of this country and resign,” says Mr. Wale.
Mr. Wale further calls on the Prime Minister to act decisively and sack his Chief of Staff Mr. Robson Djokovic immediately. “Did the Prime Minister know about Robson Djokovic’s criminal convictions in Australia?” Mr. Wale asks. “When did the Prime Minister know about these convictions? Did the PM know that these convictions were for fraud, burglary and drug offences? These are extremely serious offences indeed and Solomon Islanders are right to question the judgement of the Prime Minister in this appointment of his nephew. Does the Prime Minister consider it alright to have a fraudster, a burglar and drugs offender as Chief of Staff to the highest political office in the country?” asks Mr. Wale.
Mr. Wale further says, “It is disgraceful that a foreign investor is being persecuted and ostracized by the government for refusing to pay a demand that has all the hall marks of a bribe. These revelations explains a lot about how the government has been treating this investor. These revelations make it clear there is absolutely no national interest in the government’s treatment of this investor. It has all been to punish the investor for not listening to one of the Prime Minister closest confidants and advisors, and to protect the individuals abusing public office and their close links to the Prime Minister.
Mr. Wale further asks, “Why is Bintan Mining favoured by the Prime Minister and government, when it has a worse record than Axiom Mining? Is it because Bintan Mining has made “consultancy” payments to the Prime Minister and his cronies? Solomon Islanders are right to ask the question.”
The Prime Minister has a lot to answer for. Solomon Islanders are watching what the Prime Minister will do in response to these very serious revelations,” further adds Mr. Wale.
See below Wilson & Rano Company response/clarification regarding Mr. Djokovic’s relation to Echelon Consulting Ltd.
LAWYER CLARIFIES AXIOM CONSULTANCY
I read with great concern the level in which Mr. Mount has gone to agitate his agendas through the local and international media.
It seems that the Australian media is being used by Mr. Mount for media litigation to placate AXIOMs 7,500 shareholders and regulators.
As a serial litigant in the Courts of Solomon Islands, Mr Mount should respect the judicial process given the fact that AXIOM is currently the Claimant in several claims in the High Court to avoid sub-judice.
I have faith in the Solomon Islands judicial process to unravel the truth.Be that as it may, I recall having a meeting with Ryan Mount, and Mr Stratton (a well-known Australian Lawyer) representing Axiom Mining Company Limited at Nadi, Fiji in 2016.
This was after Axiom KB Ltd was licking its wounds from the SMM v Axiom Case which our Court of Appeal dismissed both Axiom’s Licence and SMM’s licence and found that the Commissioner of Lands with the help of Axiom KB Ltd and Ryan Mount illegally registered a lease over Takata/Kolosori tenement.
The meeting in Fiji was purposely to come up with a legislation in which we can try and push through Parliament to secure the San Jorge and Takata Tenements for Axiom Mining Co Ltd. It is an idea which Mr Mount was championing in light of his position that the Mines and Minerals Act simply failed to recognize investors like Axiom and how Axiom is the only company capable of properly mining San Jorge and Takata.
As a professional, my position has always been that I would be willing to do all legal means possible to do the work in consultation with Mr Stanton and Axiom if Axiom is prepared to put its money where its mouth is.
I drafted a consulting agreement between Axiom Mining Co Ltd and myself and stated that my consulting fees is AUD$700,000 and payable on installments upon achievement of each stages of the proposed legislation.Of course in doing so I would have needed the assistance of people I trust and who can help in pushing these agendas forward.
I remember discussing this with Mr Djokovic who at the time was a freelance consultant and was not yet employed by Solomon Islands Government. Because of his skills and connections Mr Djokovic would have been instrumental. By the end of October 2016, Mr Djokovic joined the Government as Chief of Staff and has advised that he could no longer be involved.Because Axiom could not afford this the matter we could not be take the matter further. It is not however, because Mr Mount discovered that Mr Djokovic was a partner in Echelon Consulting Ltd.
Echelon Consulting Ltd was a registered company I registered in 30 January 2015 and has nothing to do with Mr Djokovic. Anyone interested can go to the Company Registry website to search it.
The only connection between Mr Djokovic and Echelon Consulting Ltd is me. It is no secret that Mr Djokovic and I have been business partners for many years which on his part has been disclosed in full to the Leadership Code Commission.
On a legal point of view, Mr Mount’s action can be no more than what lawyers call sub-judice, in that is he is agitating and trying issues in the media he and Axiom KB Ltd are now putting before High Court in a judicial review action where he challenges the Government’s action in refusing to consider Axiom’s prospecting licence, export permit and also the cancellation of its Foreign Investment Certification.
AXIOM continues to fund litigation battles, yet is unable to pay its due to the Isabel Provincial Government with regards to Business Licence to enable him to operate lawfully in Isabel.
Wilson H Rano, Barrister and Solicitor, Rano & Company