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Posts Tagged ‘Peter O’Neill’

O’Neill’s illegal logging: 392 days and counting…

July 22, 2014 Leave a comment

392

It is now 392 days since Prime Minister Peter O’Neill 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 promised to cancel the leases and stop the illegal logging several times and last month he announced an NEC decision ordering the cancellation of some of the leases

But we are still waiting for the leases to be cancelled and the logging stopped.

For 392 days O’Neill has failed to act on the Commission of Inquiry findings, failed to revoke the SABL leases and been complicit in the illegal logging of forest resources 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

O’Neill’s illegal logging: 387 days and counting…

July 16, 2014 Leave a comment

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peter-o-neill

O’Neill’s illegal logging: 382 days and counting…

July 11, 2014 Leave a comment

382

It is now 382 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.

O’Neill has promised to cancel the leases and stop the illegal logging several times and three weeks ago he announced an NEC decision ordering the cancellation of some of the leases

But we are still waiting for the leases to be cancelled and the logging stopped.

For 382 days O’Neill has failed to implement the Commission of Inquiry findings, failed to revoke the SABL leases and been complicit in the illegal logging of forest resources 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

O’Neill’s illegal logging: 380 days and counting…

July 9, 2014 1 comment

380

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O’Neill’s illegal logging: 375 days and counting

July 4, 2014 3 comments

375

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O’Neill’s illegal logging: Corrupt officials to block SABL reforms

July 1, 2014 3 comments

372

The same corrupt officials in the Department of Lands who facilitated the illegal SABL land grab are now blocking the implementation of the Commission of Inquiry recommendation to revoke the unlawful leases, as Radio Australia reveals below.

While sitting on the Commission of Inquiry report for more than a year the Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and his Lands Minister Benny Allen have failed to act on promises to eradicate the corruption and remove the officers responsible. They  have even left one of the main facilitators of the land grab, Romilly Kila-Pat, as Secretary of the Department!

Return of titles to PNG land scandal victims delayed

By Jemima Garrett for ABC Radio Australia

Critics say the leases are a back-door way to clear-fell forests and many have been granted without the permission of traditional owners. (Credit: ABC licensed)

The leases are a back-door way to clear-fell forests and have been granted without the permission of traditional owners. (Credit: ABC licensed)

The return of millions of hectares of Papua New Guinean land to traditional owners affected by a land-leasing scandal has been delayed.

The return of millions of hectares of Papua New Guinean land to traditional owners affected by a land-leasing scandal has been delayed.

Lands Department Secretary Romily Kila-Pat last week told Pacific Beat hundreds of thousands of affected landowners could expect to have their land back by Monday, but it has been revealed that it will take longer than a week to process the cancellation of leases.

His comments came after PNG’s National Executive Council (NEC) ordered the cancellation of 25 Special Agricultural and Business Leases (SABLs) as recommended by a Commission of Inquiry.

Land Titles Registrar Benjamin Samson is overseeing the cancellation of leases and says the legal process will take longer than a week.

“By law we have to give [the leaseholders] 14 working days for them to deliver up the title, the owner’s copy that is in the hands of the leaseholders,” he said.

Mr Samson says the process is more involved than previously indicated, requiring ordering of summons for the 25 SABLs before lease cancellation.

“The law is designed as such that before cancellation is to be done a notice, which is called a summons has to be issued to the respective leaseholders,” he said.

“[Because] some leaseholders might want to challenge the decision that we would undertake but I mean, as the agent of state, we are here to comply with the decision of the government of the day so that is another matter for the leaseholders to pursue.”

Mr Samson says the return of land could be delayed further in the likely event that leaseholders decide to challenge the NEC’s decision in court.

“Well, if they do obtain an injunction, if the matter goes before the court, then of course we will have to await the outcome of the court decision before the cancellation can be fully-effected,” he said.

“I think a number of leaseholders, especially those lease-holders or those companies, who on the ground have expended a lot of money, they might want to pursue it in court but I am not sure.

“We will wait and see if we are served those court documents or not.”

Mr Samson expects the first leases to be cancelled by mid-July.

O’Neill’s illegal logging: 371 days and counting…

June 30, 2014 1 comment

371

It is now 371 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.

O’Neill has promised to cancel the leases and stop the illegal logging several times and two weeks ago he announced an NEC decision

But we are still waiting for the leases to be cancelled and the logging stopped.

For 371 days O’Neill has failed to implement the Commission of Inquiry findings, failed to revoke the SABL leases and been complicit in the illegal logging of forest resources 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

O’Neill’s illegal logging: 368 days and counting…

June 27, 2014 2 comments

368

Forest Minister makes promises but O’Neills illegal SABL logging still ongoing

PNG Loop is reporting that logging activities in 44 land areas obtained under Special Agriculture Business Lease will cease as soon as the National Forestry Authority receives confirmation from the Lands Department that the SABLs have been effectively revoked.

Forest Minister Douglas Tomuriesa says at this stage 25 SABLs have been returned to landowners and revoked however NFA is yet to receive confirmation.

Tomuriesa says once confirmation is received from the Lands Department they will then proceed with putting a stop to all Forest Clearance Authorities issued by them to logging companies.

Tomuriesa has apparently appealed to critics to be patient as they commence implementation of government decisions.

Perhaps we might have more faith in the government if the Minister came clean and told us:

  1. Which are the areas is which logging has taken place under SABLs over the last decade?
  2. How many logs have been taken from each SABL area and by which logging companies?
  3. Where is logging still continuing under SABL?

peter-o-neill

The full NEC decision on the SABL land grab

June 27, 2014 2 comments

via ACT NOW!

Papua New Guinea Government

National Executive Council

Decision No: 184/2014

Subject: MINISTERIAL COMMITTEE ON SABL

On 12th June 2014, Council:

1. noted the contents of Policy Submission No. 157/2014;

2. approved to repeal the provisions of the Structural Agriculture Business Lease (SABL) in the Lands Act to prevent anymore SABL dealings since there are other facilities in the Lands Act that allow for voluntary land tenure conversion to leasehold if customary land owners desire to do so;

3. directed that the Department of Lands and Physical Planning continue to observe the previous NEC Decision not to process or issue any more SABL;

4. approved to revoke all SABLs recommended by the two Commission of Inquiry (COI) Reports to be revoked;

5. directed that subject to formal legal advice from the Department of Justice and Attorney General, the Department of Lands and Physical Planning and the Department of Environment and Conservation review existing SABLs and where legally sound to apply appropriate administrative procedures, including the use of show cause notices to holders of SABLs;

6. directed that after proper scrutiny and legal advice the Ministerial Committee may screen all SABLs not assessed by the two COI reports and to make known its findings and recommendations on a case by case basis;

7. directed that where appropriate in the interests of all the parties involved, certain SABLs can be made compliant by following the proper guidelines to be established by the Ministerial Committee upon sound legal advice and taking into consideration the recommendations of the respective COI Reports;

8. directed the PNG Forest Authority (PNGFA) to continue to observe the NEC Decision to not issue any more Forest Clearance Authority (FCA) to SABLs;

9. directed that the PNGFA be made a self-financing entity to be financed by a specific management levy based on export of all log and timber exports so that it can more properly implement its role as the regulator and facilitator of development of the forest industry in PNG;

10. directed that in place of the National Agriculture Development Plan (NADP), the Government establish an Agriculture Investment Corporation (AIC) as the investment vehicle for large scale agriculture developments which can also joint venture with resource owners to develop their timber resources in order to help landowners raise their equity in investment in large scale agriculture and re-afforestation projects on their lands;

11. directed that the Department of Lands and Physical Planning and the Investment Promotion Authority (IPA) take steps including legislative amendments to transfer administration of the Incorporated Land Groups (ILGs) from the Department of Lands and Physical Planning to the IPA;

12. approved to establish a special SABL taskforce staffed by persons not previously involved in the issuance and administration of the SABL to be based with the Forest Ministry which shall report to the Ministerial Committee on SABL with an initial budget of K3 Million to:

  • (a) address matters raised by the findings of the COI,
  • (b) implement the recommendations of the COI,
  • (c) investigate all the other SABLs not investigated by the COI; and
  • (d) follow up the Decisions of the Ministerial Committee and the NEC pertaining to SABLs.

13. directed that the Department of Finance immediately release K3 million to PNGFA to finance the operations of the Special SABL Taskforce; and

14. approved that the Ministerial Committee shall determine the membership and composition of the Special SABL Taskforce and its terms of reference and of engagement.

I Certify the above to be a correct record of the Decisions reached by the National Executive Council

Peter O’Neill, CMG Chairman

Ilagi Veali, MPS Secretary, NEC

Date: 18th June 2014

Kila-Pat grilled over his role in SABL land grab scandal

June 26, 2014 1 comment
Critics say the leases are a back-door way to clear-fell forests and many have been granted without the permission of traditional owners. (Credit: ABC licensed)

The SABL leases are a back-door way to clear-fell forests and many were granted without the permission of traditional owners. (Credit: ABC)

ABC Radio Australia has challenged Department of Lands Secretary Romilly Kila-Pat over his role in the illegal SABL land grab – a role exposed on this blog.

The Commission of Inquiry found Kila Pat was at the centre of widespread corruption and mismanagement in the Department of Lands – the departments tasked with protecting landowners. But, bizarrely not only has he escaped any sanction, he is now the man expected to oversee the revocation of the leases.

Kila-Pat was clearly surprised to be challenged about his role in the SABL scandal:

GARRETT: The commission of inquiry identified tha Lands department as one of the biggest areas where corruption had taken place. What are you doing to ensure that officer involved in corruption do face justice?

KILA-PAT: Actually, i think we need to understand the process of SABL before we conclude there is corruption. The department of Lands and Physical Planning plays a facilitation role. The people who drive SABL are basically the landowners. They themselves come forward to the department and say we want this land to be issued an SABL title and we just facilitate the process of issuing an SABL title based on landowner requests.

GARRETT: Nevertheless, the fact that 25 SABLs are being cancelled and the Commission of Inquiry did find a lot of problems in the Lands department. Will any of your officer be disciplined or stood down from their roles and a result of their role in what has happened?

KILA-PAT: that is very important. I have made my commitments. I have started dealing with officers already. As and when those who are found to be doing something wrong, my position is very clear that we don’t need to have them in the department. We should let them go. But at this stage, we still have outstanding issues to be dealt with by the task force so as soon as they complete everything, we will deal with everything as it unfolds.

GARRETT: The Commission of Inquiry found you, yourself, had issued some Special Agricultural and business leases unlawfully. Should you be in charge of the department as it tries to fix this problem?

KILA-PAT: um, I think what has actually happened now is that I am not going to fix the problems because the task force has been set up so everything will be dealt with by the taskforce. Basically, there are a number of issues that we need to deal with. I think one that is very, very critical in nature is the legislation. OK. The legislation that deals with the issuance of SABLs needs to be changed but, in this case, we are now repealing that particular law that allowed for SABLs. We now have a new law which is under customary land registration where landowners can now come and register their customary land.

GARRETT: Will you be investigated along with other officers named in the commission of Inquiry report?

KILA-PAT: That is a matter of the task force, should the task force make those appropriate recommendations, then like I said, the government has now made recommendations for a task force to be set up to look into this matter.

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