Breaking a long silence over the government of Laos’ conviction of Gem Mining Lao PDR company officers in late 2000, Bjarne Jeppesen and Julie Bruns have called for an end to corruption, greed and oppression existing in that country.
“We have been quiet for far too long,” stated Jeppesen. “We were advised not to speak publicly about our case while the innocent Jerry and Kelly Danes were imprisoned in Phontong jail on ludicrous, trumped up charges, fabricated by Bounmaly Vilavong and the Ministry of the Interior, and affirmed by their master, Somsavat Lengsavadh.
“We adhered to this advice, but enough is enough. It is time to get rid of the rotten apples in the Government of Laos and to expel countless corrupt government officials. The long overdue dismissal of Somsavat Lengsavadh indicates that some within the Lao Government are at last waking up to the fact that there are terrorists in their midst. Perhaps some of the more sensible leaders in Laos have realized that Somsavat Lengsavadh and his cohorts would destroy the government, dragging many of them to certain incarceration, if not worse.
“Regarding our case, let me be clear. The removal and inevitable incarceration of Somsavat Lengsavadh, Bounmaly Vilavong and other corrupt officials that participated in the illegal expropriation of our company will not satisfy Gem Mining Lao PDR. We want what is rightfully ours returned, with interest. We demand the return of every cent invested by us and every cent entrusted to us by investors who in good faith invested in Gem Mining Lao PDR.
“The despicable, conniving criminals that assisted Somsavat Lengsavadh in manipulating and expropriating our assets must be brought to justice. It is a well known fact, both in and out of Laos, that Gem Mining Lao adhered to its Agreement and to Lao Law at all times. The available documentary proof shows that the Lao government accusations were totally baseless. However, we were found guilty in absentia of a variety of alleged misdeeds by a “Kangaroo Court” where browbeaten “judges” were told what to do by Somsavat Lengsavadh and his cronies.
“We would love to have our case heard outside of Laos. Any court, outside of a communist dictatorship, would quickly dismiss the insane charges brought against Gem Mining Lao and the two of us. Dismissal, and a judgment against the Government of Laos, would of course cause increased problems for Somsavat Lengsavadh, Bounmaly Vilavong and their criminal friends, who have now received large sums of money from those suckers who have been promised Gem Mining Lao’s
“The name “Laos” stinks all around the world today, but only because of the massive corruption, greed and oppression that exists there. This must stop. Imagine a Laos without the likes of Somsavat Lengsavadh, Bounmaly Vilavong and their ilk. Imagine a place without secret police and government informers on every street corner. Imagine a place where aid and donor money actually gets to the worthy projects and citizens it was meant to aid, and not into the pockets of corrupt government officials and their friends and relatives.
“Julie and I are totally committed to ridding Laos of the criminals who took our livelihood, and the livelihood of many of our good Lao workers. We are not alone. We will not rest until this has been accomplished, and we will not pause until we have been fully compensated for what has been stolen from us and, indeed, from the good Lao people.
“Western governments generally mean well and have good intentions. While these governments talk about “sanctions” and “cuts in aid”, does anyone really believe that a rogue state such as Laos cares if aid is cut – except as it may affect what they take to feather their own pockets? Of course, aid rarely is cut, as can clearly be seen by Australia’s weak response in the Danes’ case.
Further, who supplies the second largest amount of heroin to the world markets? That’s right – Laos. With those hundreds of millions of dollars going directly to the highest of government officials, why would the criminal elements in the Lao government worry about donors and aid money?
“So much needs to be done within Laos. The removal of Somsavat Lengsavadh is a good start, but only a start. We will be doing our part in helping Laos steer away from its terrorist activities, and look forward to those inside and outside of Laos helping to do the same.”
Posted by VientianeTimes.com on Feb 13, 2002. No editing. VientianeTimes.com takes no responsibility for its content.