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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, May 23) - Bougainville’s most respected leaders have condemned as "lies and bullshit" U-Vistract founder Noah Musingku’s claims he is bringing in "fabulous wealth" for all Bougainvilleans.

In an unrelated event, another money scheme, Papalain Association, also came under fire when police and central bank officials raided its Port Moresby offices at the weekend.

In a joint statement, Bougainville Governor John Momis and the president of the Bougainville People’s Congress, Joseph Kabui, condemned Musingku for "lies circulating in Central Bougainville".

They said Musingku had convinced separatist leader Francis Ona, who "is desperate to find a way of becoming an important figure in Bougainville again", that "great wealth can come to Bougainville without effort".

Wild rumors had been spreading throughout Bougainville prior to May 17 that a big announcement would be made on that day - the 14th anniversary of the unilateral declaration of independence for Bougainville.

This involved a "new world system" including a so-called Royal Bank of Meekamui, which after May 17 would supposedly pay out money owing to Bougainvillean investors in U-Vistract at interest rates of up to 1,000 percent a year.

Besides the bank, which is illegal under PNG laws, May 17 was meant to herald the crowning of Francis Ona as "King Francis Dominic Dateransy Domanaa, king of the Royal Kingdom of Meekamui, with Musingku becoming "His Royal Highness Prince David Benjamin Noah Papala Hokong".

Describing these alleged plans as "lies and bullshit", Mr Momis and Mr Kabui said they were "disappointed that Musingku’s association with Francis Ona is destroying Ona’s credibility in the eyes of the people.

They said: "Before this, Ona was respected by all Bougainvilleans, even by those who opposed him. He was respected because he was a true leader, who achieved a great deal for Bougainville. But now he has been misled by lies."

They appealed to tribal leaders and chiefs in the Panguna area, site of the defunct Bougainville copper mine, to reason with Mr Ona and to put an end to the no-go zone.

"Why should we Bougainvilleans be stopped from going through the so called no-go zone to visit our relatives and friends? Why should foreigners be allowed to move freely where we cannot?"

The latter question was a reference to stories that the Queen or her representative and possibly US President George Bush were coming to the "coronation" ceremonies, which was eventually attended by some people from Port Moresby and some westerners.

Among the planes, submarines and ships that were supposedly coming, Musingku told diehard U-Vistract supporters there would be ships "loaded with huge amounts of money".

Mr Momis and Mr Kabui said Musingku had fled arrest warrants in Port Moresby and Solomon Islands.

They said the spreading of lies by Musingku and Ona was a plot to distract Bougainvilleans "away from the real hard work that is needed to build peace, and build the economy.

"We all know, deep down, that fantastic wealth is not going to come from nothing...Real wealth comes from hard work, from individual effort.

"It comes from planting cocoa and vanilla, from running businesses. It usually requires small beginnings and much effort to build up to something larger."

The National:

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