PNG govt report reveals land lease corruption

A GOVERNMENT taskforce is to be appointed after a report into agriculture business leases in Papua New Guinea uncovered a trend of corruption.
PNG govt report reveals land lease corruption
PNG govt report reveals land lease corruption
PNG govt report reveals land lease corruption
PNG govt report reveals land lease corruption
PNG govt report reveals land lease corruption

Presenting a Commission of Inquiry report into special agriculture business leases to Parliament, PNG Prime Minister Peter O'Neill said drastic action was needed.

SABLs were intended to allow the conversion of traditional land into leasehold land for agricultural use for the benefit of landowners.

O'Neill said it was very disappointing the COI was asked to examine 75 SABLs but the final report examined only 42, the Post-Courier reported.

A task force will be set up to identify a new legislative framework for the conversion of traditional land to protect the interest of landowners and ensure sustainable land use.

"Out of the 42 leases reported on, only in four leases were there bona fide landowner consent and a commercially viable agricultural project being undertaken," O'Neill said.

He said the remaining leases were seriously compromised and the success rate appalling.

"The only conclusion that I can draw is that the policy on SABLs has failed miserably," he said.

"However, despite these findings the Commission has recommended that SABLs be continued.

"The Commission has instead made a number of recommendations in an effort to improve the integrity of the process. This is not acceptable. Something drastic needs to be done."

The COI was established in 2011 and provided an interim report outlining the legal authority and processes of issuing SABLs and an assessment of the legal authority.

It was given a deadline of June 24, 2013 to produce the final report into the land leases.

But O'Neill said the commission examined 42 of the 75 due to the fact that Commissioner Alois Jerewai failed to contribute any material to the final report.

"It would appear that the commissioners failed to work together as a team and their own personal differences have had a direct impact on the quality of the report produced," O'Neill added.

"We will no longer watch on as foreign owned companies come in and con our landowners, chop down our forests and then take the proceeds offshore.

"For too long landowners have been taken advantage of and had their land stolen from under them.

"The use of customary land is sensitive and this government is committed to getting it right."


Most read Regions

  • NEW: Digital version of PNG Report magazine - View here
  • Porgera: Barrick-PNG talks go on - Read more
  • Follow the companies investing in the PNG market - Read more

Most read Regions