PNG, Sandline International and the Billionaire
If you’ve been following the British press recently, the name Tony Buckingham would be one you should be quite familiar with. Last week Buckingham confirmed a merger that currently values his Heritage Oil Company at around GBP 3.5 Billion. Now to put that into perspective, that’s more than double the worth of British Airways. What the British press have very much focused on, particularly the gossip-thriving The Sun, is Buckingham’s colourful unorthodox background and his meteoric rise to fortune.
If you have a significant association with PNG, I only have to mention Sandline International and you will know what I’m talking about. The Sandline Affair is still an issue that pricks the feelings of many Papua New Guineans today. The name Lt. Col Tim Spicer is synonymous with the Sandline Affair in PNG but not so much that of Tony Buckingham, maybe because the paper-trail leading to him was doused with myriads of corporate subsidiaries, relationships and interests. However, since the Affair, Sandline has confirmed that “Tony Buckingham was the inspiration behind Sandline“.
So it was with interest that I read of Buckingham’s latest oil venture and how his meteoric rise to fortune has its foundation deeply rooted in mercenary work throughout several coup-marred African countries including Sierra Leone, Angola, Equatorial Guinea, Zimbabwe and of course, PNG too.
A good book about the privitisation of warfare which also includes a copy of the official agreement between Sandline International and the PNG Government, and a list of the huge array of military equipment involved in the company’s abortive plan to suppress the rebellion in Bougainville, is Corporate Warriors: The Rise of the Priviatized Military Industry.
I Also would recommend Tim Spicer’s Autobiography, An Unorthodox Soldier.