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Posts Tagged ‘Peter O’Neill’

More excuses from O’Neill over failure to act on SABL land grab

December 19, 2014 Leave a comment

O’Neill has failed for two years to take any action against the corrupt bureaucrats and politicians responsible for the SABL land grab and illegal logging – and now he is expressing surprise they have done nothing to cancel the leases or stop the logging…

SABL investigation: O’Neill says bureaucracy not responding

By Serah Aupong – EM TV, Port Moresby

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill says the bureaucracy is not responding to political directions to implement the recommendations of an investigation into the Special Agriculture Business Leases (SABL).

He has tasked the Chief Secretary to ensure the recommendations are implemented.

The SABL became a national and an international issue when it was uncovered that over 5.2 million hectares of customary land were converted to agricultural business leases without the knowledge and consent of customary landowners.

This caused a nationwide protest and calls for this to be put right.

An investigation, at a cost of K15 million, was completed last year.

It was recommended that a majority of the leases be revoked because they were illegal. Of the 78 leases that were investigated, 42 came back with recommendations. Out of the 42, only four were found to have followed due process while a staggering 38 were found to be fraudulent.

Many of these leases were being used as a cover for illegal logging operations and were not genuine agriculture businesses.

Until today, nothing has been done to implement that recommendation.

Prime Minister O’Neill said the government is firm on its decision that the SABL’s must be cancelled.

A team is already in place to begin monitoring work next year. It will be headed by the Chief Secretary, Sir Manasupe Zurenuoc.

Sir Zurenuoc said the handling of the Rabaul Queen maritime disaster was swift and it was hoped that the SABL and Finance Inquiries would have been given the same attention. Unfortunately the bureaucracy is not as swift in their response in these matters.

He said the team will find out from relevant agencies what the holdup is in implementing these recommendations and where it can, the team will assist in doing so.

Over the last 10 years, concerns about illegal logging in the country have become an international embarrassment for Papua New Guinea.

While the SABL debate rages, communities in provinces such as Oro and West New Britain, are still dealing with alleged abuse of their customary land rights.

O’Neill’s illegal logging: 543 days and counting…

December 19, 2014 Leave a comment

543

cartoon showing Peter O'Neill being fed by Rimbunan Hijau while he sits on a pile of SABL reports

Peter O'Neill: Theft of forest resources: Guilty

O’Neill’s illegal logging: 536 days and counting…

December 12, 2014 2 comments

count

It is now 536 days since Prime Minister Peter O’Neill was told that the SABL leases were unlawful and should be revoked.

It was on June 24, 2013 that he was given the reports of the SABL Commission Inquiry which detail the widespread fraud and mismanagement used by foreign logging companies to gain illegal access to over 5 million hectares of land.

O’Neill has REPEATEDLY STATED the leases will be canceled and illegal logging stopped.

In September 2013 O’Neill told Parliament:

“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”

In June 2014, announcing an NEC decision cancelling the leases, O’Neill said

“We are taking these steps to reclaim our customary land illegally lost to foreigners with the help of corrupt public servants and leaders”

“As a responsible government we want to ensure that all citizens have access to the lands of their ancestors. We will not allow our land to be lost to unscrupulous people out to con our people” 

But, WE ARE STILL WAITING for the leases to be cancelled and the logging stopped.

For 536 days O’Neill has failed to revoke the SABL leases and has been complicit in the illegal logging of our forests by foreign logging companies.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has aided and abetted the theft of logs worth hundreds of million of kina and the destruction of thousands of hectares of pristine forest.

Peter O'Neill: Theft of forest resources: Guilty

O’Neill’s illegal logging: 529 days and counting…

December 5, 2014 Leave a comment

count 529

cartoon showing Peter O'Neill being fed by Rimbunan Hijau while he sits on a pile of SABL reports

Peter O'Neill: Theft of forest resources: Guilty

Minister overrules SABL CoI findings on New Hanover leases

December 3, 2014 2 comments

pruaitch

In February this year, current Treasury Minister and former Minister for Forests, Patrick Pruaitch, gave his seal of approval to three controversial logging operations and SABL leases on New Hanover island that the SABL Commission of Inquiry found to be fraudulent and unlawful.

A TUTAMAN LEASE smallIn a letter dated 24 February [450Kb] Pruaitch claimed the leases and Forest Clearance Authorities were ‘all in order’ and said they had the ‘fullest support’ of his Ministry. This is in direct contradiction of the Commission’s detailed findings of fraud, intimidation and a complete failure to follow proper process in issuing the SABLs and FCAs to Malaysian owned logging company, Tutuman.

Two months after the letter was written, Pruaitch was elevated by the Prime Minister to his new position as Treasury Minister.

The leaked letter graphically illustrates why the Prime Minister’s promises of action to revoke the SABLs and an NEC decision endorsing the Commission of Inquiry recommendations have not been implemented – too many Ministers and other politicians are involved in the unlawful leases and the corruption that lies behind the SABL land grab and widespread illegal logging.

When Pruaitch wrote the letter he was the head of the Ministerial Committee charged by the government with reviewing the SABL Commission of Inquiry report and says, as Minister for Forests, he had directed a specific review of each SABL project.

“I am pleased to advice [sic] that FCA’s portion 887 C Central New Hanover, Portion 886 C Umbukul and Portion 885 C Tabut were all in order and wish to congratulate the Leaders, the Landowner and the Developer, Tutuman Development Limited… these projects will have the fullest of support from my Ministry and the National Forest Authority”

This statement by the Minister is totally at odds with the findings of the Commission of Inquiry, which recommended the three New Hanover SABLs, which cover 93,000 hectares, 75% of the whole island, be revoked and a criminal investigation be undertaken of Tutuman for ‘major irregularities’.

The Commission of Inquiry visited Hanover island, interviewed numerous witnesses and reviewed the files from three government departments. It found:

  • The whole land investigation process was flawed and corrupted and consent was not properly obtained
  • The majority of people were totally unaware of the SABL process until after the leases had been issued
  • Tutuman misled the PNG Forest Authority when applying for its FCAs
  • There was harassment of landowners by Tutuman and the use of arms and force by police Mobile Squads including at least one shooting and hospitalization on the orders of the company
  • Tutuman purported to sell the land under the SABLs to a third party for US$1.6 million – a deal that should be the subject of a criminal investigation as it was fraudulent and dishonest
  • Tutuman does not have the capacity and expertise to undertake a high-impact agro-forestry project
  • Tutuman has failed to meet its implementation schedule for agriculture planting as part of its logging permit
  • The log pond is well below international standards
  • Massive destruction of mangroves, waterways, sago palms and destruction of coral reefs
  • Machinery dumped in waterways
  • Dredging of coral reefs to build logging roads

Pruaitch’s letter also totally contradicts the statement of the Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, that the three leases were part of the 38 which together ‘reveal a shocking trend of mismanagement and corruption in all stages in the [SABL] process’.

The letter is also completely inconsistent with the decision of the National Executive Council, made in June, endorsing the Commission of Inquiry recommendations and directing the leases be revoked.

Rimbunan Hijau puppets cartoon, 2003

O’Neill’s illegal logging: 522 days and counting…

November 28, 2014 1 comment

count

It is now 522 days since Prime Minister Peter O’Neill was told that the SABL leases were unlawful and should be revoked.

It was on June 24, 2013 that he was given the reports of the SABL Commission Inquiry which detail the widespread fraud and mismanagement used by foreign logging companies to gain illegal access to over 5 million hectares of land.

O’Neill has REPEATEDLY STATED the leases will be canceled and illegal logging stopped.

In September 2013 O’Neill told Parliament:

“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”

In June 2014, announcing an NEC decision cancelling the leases, O’Neill said

“We are taking these steps to reclaim our customary land illegally lost to foreigners with the help of corrupt public servants and leaders”

“As a responsible government we want to ensure that all citizens have access to the lands of their ancestors. We will not allow our land to be lost to unscrupulous people out to con our people” 

But, WE ARE STILL WAITING for the leases to be cancelled and the logging stopped.

For 522 days O’Neill has failed to revoke the SABL leases and has been complicit in the illegal logging of our forests by foreign logging companies.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has aided and abetted the theft of logs worth hundreds of million of kina and the destruction of thousands of hectares of pristine forest.

Peter O'Neill: Theft of forest resources: Guilty

Peter O’Neill’s illegal logging: 515 days and counting…

November 21, 2014 Leave a comment

count

cartoon showing Peter O'Neill being fed by Rimbunan Hijau while he sits on a pile of SABL reports

Peter O'Neill: Theft of forest resources: Guilty

SABL_billboard

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