Number Three: 12 June 2002
An extensive and corrupt political network is protecting Philip Lee and Concord Pacific
A new report, Partners in Crime II (Download PDF), clearly details the extensive political web of support for the illegal logging operations of Concord Pacific and Philip Lee. The report shows how Lee is linked to sixteen government Ministers, Provincial Governors, Members of Parliament and senior public servants through a whole series of unlawful logging permits and tax exemptions, business dealings and other activities (see chart below).
Concord Pacific and its General Manager, Philip Lee, have gained an unwelcome notoriety in Papua New Guinea for their illegal business scams and involvement in a number of criminal activities.
Concord Pacific is the company behind the illegal logging operation known as the Kiunga Aiambak project. Concord Pacific has over the last 7 years exported more than US$50 million of stolen logs from the remote Western Province.
The project was declared illegal by the forest authorities as early as 1995. Since then, the Independent Forestry Review, the Chair of the National Forest Board, the Forest Industries Association and even the Prime Minister, as well as national and international NGOs, have all complained about this illegal logging operation.
Yet no effective action has been taken by the authorities to stop the illegal logging. Indeed, the project has been allowed to expand through a series of illegal permit extensions and to avoid tax liabilities through unlawful tax exemptions.
In December 2001, Concord Pacific was given a new and even larger illegal timber permit. This new permit allows it to log along an 830-kilometre corridor through 7 unallocated timber areas with a total area of 2.7 million hectares.
Philip Lee is the General Manager of Concord Pacific and its minority shareholder. He has gained notoriety not only for the activities of Concord Pacific but also for a series of scandals including an immigration and passport scam, attempts at billion dollar loan deals with government ministers, fraudulent agricultural leases and allegations of gun smuggling.
‘Partners in Crime 2’ begins to explain how Concord Pacific and Philip Lee have managed to survive for so long outside the law and to reap their enormous criminal profits. The report sets out in meticulous detail, and with over 200 pages of supporting documentation, the intricate web of political support that has protected and nurtured the illegal activities of Concord Pacific and Philip Lee.