There will be no action to revoke illegal SABL leases while Forest Minister Patrick Pruaitch remains in charge of the Prime Minister’s response to the huge land grab.
Pruaitch has been a staunch defender of the logging industry for more than a decade and has been directly involved in many of its corrupt and illegal deals
In particular, Pruaitch is a committed supporter of Rimbunan Hijau, the biggest beneficiary of the illegal SABL land grab. Pruaitch has been personally implicated in many of RH’s illegal logging deals over the past decade – as we reveal below thanks to the investigations of Masalai i Tokaut.
The Prime Minister has appointed a Task Force of three Ministers headed by Pruaitch together with Benny Allen and Tommy Tomscoll to implement the SABL Commission of Inquiry recommendation that 66 of 72 SABL leases be revoked because they are illegal.
But six months after its appointment the Task Force has not revoked a single illegal lease and the reasons for its inaction are obvious.The primary beneficiary of the illegal leases are foreign logging companies who are using the leases as cover for their fraudulent logging operations.
The Commission of Inquiry found that:
With corrupt government officials from implementing agencies riding shotgun for them, opportunistic loggers masquerading as agro-forestry developers are prowling our countryside, scoping opportunities to take advantage of gullible landowners and desperate for cash clan leaders… Our investigations reveal that over 50% of the so-called developers’ currently holding subleases on SABLs are connected in one way or another to Rimbunan Hijau (RH) Limited, which by far is the biggest logging operator in PNG’
In 2012 alone the value of the logs stolen for illegal SABL lease areas was K172 million – and that is just the value of the raw logs. Once sawn into rough timber the value of the logs multiplies four or five times.
Patrick Pruaitch been heavily involved in the corrupt world of the logging industry since been appointed Forest Minister by Michael Somare after the 2002 election. Since then Pruaitch has personally orchestrated many of the corrupt and illegal deals – many of them involving Rimbunan Hijau.
Pruaitch first came to attention in 2003 when the State conveniently paid K150,000 to the lawyer Pruaitch had used in a private matter defending himself against an election petition. The lawyer, Joseph Yagi, was also the lawyer for controversial logging company Concord Pacific which had an extensive illegal operation in Western Province. Read more – Ministers lawyer paid by the State.
As Forest Minister Pruaitch then refused to take any action after an internal government inquiry reveled six new illegal logging deals, the largest three of which involved Rimbunan Hijau – The Robber Barons are still here. Pruaitch also personally rejected a decision of the National Forest Board to award a new logging concession to a non Rimbunan Hijau subsidiary – Forest Minister Pruaitch beyond the law – and intervened to stop the Forest Board discussing sanctions against RH for illegal and unsustainable logging – Forest Minister Unlawfully Intervenes.
In January 2004, Pruaitch’s defence of an illegal logging operation in New Ireland was exposed as being full of lies and misinformation – Ministers explanation full of lies. Later the same year Pruaitch was exposed for lying to Parliament – Forest Minister lied to Parliament.
In 2005 an internal Forest Authority audit report found Patrick Pruaitch had stolen more than K20,000 from the public purse through double-dipping. The auditors described the Ministers conduct as “dishonest, unethical and improper’ – Ministers conduct dishonest and corrupt.
In 2006 it was revealed how Rimbunan Hijau was even writing Pruaitch’s media releases as Minister –
Other examples of the close relationship between Pruaitch and the illegal operations of Rimbunan Hijau are revealed in:
- Sold into slavery by Pruaitch
- Rimbunan Hijau puts the squeeze on Pruaitch
- Minister breaks law to save RH
- Pruaitch and Somare chopping down the Sepik
- Forest Minister tries to gag debate
Given this appalling history is it any wonder that no action has been taken by the O’Neill government to revoke the illegal SABL leases?
Peter O’Neill’s handling of the illegal SABL land grab shows he is impotent in the face of Malaysian logging company control of PNG politicians and officials.
Twenty-five years ago the Barnett Commission of Inquiry blew the whistle on widespread corruption and fraud in the forest industry in Papua New Guinea. Today, our politicians still remain under the control of foreign, mainly Malaysian, logging companies.
The 1989 Inquiry, headed by Australian judge Justice Barnett, famously described the logging companies as acting like robber barons:
“It would be fair to say… they are now roaming the countryside with the self-assurance of robber barons; bribing politicians and leaders, creating social disharmony and ignoring laws in order to gain access to, rip out and export the last remnants of the province’s valuable timber.
Almost twenty-five years later, the recent 2013 SABL Commission of Inquiry into fraudulent agriculture leases has found nothing has changed:
With corrupt government officials from implementing agencies riding shotgun for them, opportunistic loggers masquerading as agro-forestry developers are prowling our countryside, scoping opportunities to take advantage of gullible landowners and desperate for cash clan leaders… Our investigations reveal that over 50% of the so-called developers’ currently holding subleases on SABLs are connected in one way or another to Rimbunan Hijau (RH) Limited, which by far is the biggest logging operator in PNG’.
The Special Agriculture and Business Leases are the latest mechanism used by the loggers to get access to valuable timber resources. They have been used to take control of over 5 million hectares of forest – more than 10% of Papua New Guinea’s total landmass.
The SABL Commission of Inquiry recommended 66 of 72 leases be revoked as they are illegal. But six months after receiving the Commissions reports the government of Peter O’Neill has done nothing to implement those recommendations.
As a result million of dollars worth of illegally felled logs are leaving the country every week, mostly destined for China.
Swiss company SGS, which says it assiduously monitors log exports, says the value of the raw logs exported from the SABL lease areas was K172 million in 2012. Once sawn into rough timber in China the value of the logs multiplies by a factor of four or five. It is used in the manufacture of furniture, decking and other products for markets in Europe and the USA.
The only thing blocking the implementation of the SABL Commission of Inquiry recommendation that the leases be revoked is the Malaysian logging companies who are reaping rich rewards from the illegally felled timber and the politicians and bureaucrats who are in their pay.
Clearly the Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, if not a direct beneficiary himself of the loggers bribes, is to impotent or incompetent to break their control over our politicians and bureaucrats.
“TO WHOM MUCH IS GIVEN, MUCH SHALL BE REQUIRED”
By WHISTLEBLOWER via PNG News
The Department of Works and Implementation has been given a huge allocation in the 2013 and 2014 National Budgets. With the allocation and entrusting of such a huge amount of money comes great responsibility. Of all government departments and agencies, the departments of Works, Health and Education MUST receive the greatest scrutiny because they have received the greatest slice of budgetary allocations in recent years. Many times we focus on MPs and Ministers and overlook the implementers or public servants, starting with Department Secretaries.
Acting Department of Works Secretary David Wereh has been living a lavish lifestyle ever since his appointment in June/July 2012 to replace suspended former secretary Joel Luma. David Wereh who comes from Kuwi Village in the Koare LLG of the Ialibu Pangia District, Southern Highlands Province is another close associate and “wantok” of Prime Minister Peter O’Neill. Word from sources close to the Acting Secretary is that he often receives orders and directives directly from Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, bypassing Works Minister Francis Awesa. This link to the PM will be revealed in some stunning revelations below.
Some investigations into the business dealings of Mr Wereh reveal that the Business Name “G.J.D Trucking (6-107136)” was incorporated with IPA on 24 January 2012. The business is listed as being owned by Matilda WEREH, the wife of Acting Secretary David Wereh. For a “TRUCKING COMPANY”, it is also interesting that checks done at MVIL do not show any “trucks” or even “motor vehicles” owned by this company.
The Business has a bank account with Westpac Bank, opened on 17 February 2012. What is very interesting is that even though this “trucking business” does not have any vehicles registered under its business name with MVIL, the business has been receiving substantial amounts of money from very interesting sources. While some payments appear to be regular and may be related to the business, there are other “irregular payments” that seem highly dubious and suspicious. A number of these payments can be easily linked to companies that have tendered for and won road construction or road maintenance contracts. Regular “CASH” deposits of K9,900 have been made into the account apart from other amounts.
The payment that stands out as being very interesting is linked to L&A Construction; a company which many commentators on Social Media have alleged has business links with Prime Minister Peter O’Neill. A tidy sum of K111,000 was paid into the business account of G.J.D Trucking at Westpac Bank on 1st May 2012, around the time L&A Construction won the bid for the re-construction of Marea Haus (Pineapple Building). Another BSP Cheque for K200,000 from an unidentified source was deposited into the account shortly after on 4th May 2012.
There are also stories of so many contracts handed out to paper companies owned by tribesmen, clansmen, cronies, supporters and wantoks of both David Wereh and Peter O’Neill for real or imagined “road construction” and “road maintenance” works in the Ialibu Pangia district of Southern Highlands Province. Companies of cronies and close associates of the Acting Secretary like 7th Star Hire Car Ltd (1-83470) registered on 30 May 2012 have close links and business deals with the Acting Secretary. Directors of this company are a PNGan Garry KANDIPA and Australian Paolo UCCHINO.
Sources have revealed that David and Matilda Wereh have had a sudden change in their lifestyle, ever since David Wereh was appointed Acting Secretary for Works in 2012. Their children have been sent to the most expensive international schools and frequent overseas holidays to Australia are part of what has become a lifestyle which many Department Secretaries or public servants cannot afford on their public service salaries. It is not unusual for them to carry around large amounts of cash and throw lavish parties, both in Port Moresby and back in their village. Christianity has been used conveniently as a cover as they portray the image of being committed Christians who give much money to the “work of God”.
There are so many other examples of how Acting Secretary David Wereh is using his position to benefit himself and his and the Prime Minister’s cronies and supporters. With direct access to the PM, Mr Wereh is seemingly untouchable by his Minister Francis Awesa who has been relegated to the sidelines. It is no wonder road construction companies are sprouting up like mushrooms all over Southern Highlands and particularly in Ialibu and Pangia.
There was also a deposit of K150,000 on 7 March 2013 into the account of G.J.D Trucking with the narration “B/- Ela Enterprise”. It is not known whether this is a business name or a company. A check with IPA online shows that Ela Enterprise Ltd is a company owned by Indians and based in Madang. If the company is into “Road Construction/Maintenance” or similar works, then the link may be drawn that this payment was a “sweetener” for the awarding of contracts.
It is interesting to note that this account with Westpac Bank was closed on 10th February 2014 after Government Agencies such as IRC and others began asking questions. IRC are encouraged to check further on the “business activities” of G.J.D Trucking to see if all their taxes have been paid for the funds that have been deposited into that account.
The public on social media are encouraged to CONTRIBUTE any information you may know. All relevant documentation relating to this “unofficial investigation” are on hand. Together with any new information contributed on social media, a file will be put together and forwarded to the relevant authorities to investigate further and take appropriate ACTION!! For a start, Acting Secretary David Wereh MUST NOT be confirmed to this position if the government of Peter O’Neill is serious about fighting corruption!
There are reports coming in from around the country that landowners are becoming very frustrated and anxious over the failure of the government to revoke illegal SABL leases and restore more than 5 million hectares of land to its customary owners.
Commissioner Numapo says his Commission’s report is fueling the anger as it clearly spells out the leases are illegal, the landowners have been cheated and the leases should be revoked…
PNG Land Inquiry Commissioner wants action on flawed leases
ABC Radio Australia
The Chairman of Papua New Guinea’s land scandal Inquiry says action is needed to revoke flawed leases over millions of hectares of traditional land.
Many of the leases are for 99 years.
In his first interview since the Inquiry finished Chief Commissioner, John Numapo, says it is clear 66 leases should be revoked and he expresses concern at the pace of government action.
Presenter: Jemima Garrett
Speaker: Commissioner John Numapo
GARRETT: In the space of a decade more than 5 million hectares of Papua New Guinea’s traditional land was leased out under what are known as Special Agricultural and Business leases or SABLs.
The leases were meant for small agricultural projects but in many cases were used by logging companies, without permission of landowners, to get control over vast tracks of forest.
When Prime Minister Peter O’Neill presented the findings of the Inquiry to parliament, in September last year, he said the Inquiry had revealed a shocking trend of corruption and mismanagement.
The commisioners investigated 75 separate leases but because one of them Alois Jerewai failed to submit his report the Prime Minister was only able to present the findings for 42 leases.
Chief Commissioner John Numapo says, in the interests of landowners, Commissioner Jerewai needs to finish his report.
NUMAPO: He should have delivered his report because whatever the stated hiccough or financial difficulties that we experienced throughout the life of the Inquiry we all have gone through that and yet Commissioner Mirou and I were able to furnish our final report because we were given a deadline and that was made known to the whole lot of us. So really there is no real excuse for Commissioner Jerewai not to deliver his report. And I think that is the only setback, in my opinion, to what has been a very successful Inquiry.
Prime Minister O’Neill told parliament 38 leases had been found to be seriously compromised.
Commissioner Numapo, says even though Commissioner Jerewai has not reported his findings, it is obvious 66 of the 75 leases investigated did not have a legally valid certificate of alienability.
Mr Numapo says that means the government must revoke them.
NUMAPO: That is the only option that is available. The law is very clear on that. SABL process and mechanisms as covered under section 11 and 102 of the Land Act and the titles have to be properly issued. And if it does not comply with the process and procedures in issuing all these leases then obviously they have been unlawfully issued and therefore the only option is left now to the government is to have them revoked as per our recommendations and our findings.
GARRETT: No action has been taken to revoke the leases and the only action the government has taken so far is to refer the recommendations to an interdepartmental task force. Is the government moving too slowly?
NUMAPO: I would have thought so because the report was given to the government in June of last year and you know, it is almost probably 7 or 8 months now and the report has been tabled in parliament. And unfortunately it was only two reports, ah, but yes when the report was tabled in parliament I understand the Prime Minister made a commitment to ensuring the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry is implemented so we are all waiting on that to happen. Those recommendations have to be implemented because it is affecting the people and especially the customary landowners.
GARRETT: Are you concerned that the government is losing the will to act?
NUMAPO: As in everything else in PNG I think they will get to it one day but the sooner they move on it the better it will be. And I have seen recently in the local media that some landowners have got a copy of the report and are calling on the government to immediately implement the recommendations, particularly on the SABLs that have been unlawfully issued as there are findings and recommendations to have that lease revoked or surrendered, whatever the case is, and they have now called on the government to act on it and move quickly on it. So we will just wait on what the government might do in the next couple of months
Many would not have seen it among the ceremony and pomp that has accompanied Prime Minister O’Neill’s historic visit to Bougainville – it was the big ‘for sale’ sign O’Neill and Momis have just dangled around the island.
This is partly because O’Neill’s visit has been portrayed by a pliable media contingent as a historic act of reconciliation between PNG and Bougainville; the breaking of arrows. ‘Why here’, ‘why now’, are not words any one dares utter. But utter they should.
For the past three years the ABG has made its development strategy clear – the sell-off of Bougainville’s marine, timber and mineral resources to foreign investors. As a result President Momis has been busy in the Philippines and China enjoying five star treatment, while Asian investors eye Bougainville’s riches, along with the old-hand Rio Tinto.
But there is one problem niggling at the President, ‘stability’. If foreign investors are to be wooed, they need to be able to convince creditors that they are not about to park their funds in a black hole. As BCL’s Chairman recently told the Murdoch press in Australia:
When I need to raise the money for this mine, by going to banks and investors, wanting to raise billions of dollars, they’re going to say: “Tell me about Bougainville.” If Bougainville is the world’s newest nation, with no track record of managing projects, as opposed to PNG which has a long track record, it’s going to be easier to raise the money if Bougainville doesn’t go down the independence route. I wouldn’t even go to the market at this stage, because I can’t tell the market what they’re investing in.
Enter Prime Minister O’Neill. With concerns being increasingly raised about Bougainville’s stability as it approaches its independence referendum, O’Neill and Momis have entered a pact of convenience.
It needs to be said O’Neill is not hell bent on keeping Bougainville – he will respect the referendum decision – however, the PM certainly does not want an independent or autonomous Bougainville being a financial albatross around PNG’s neck for years to come.
On the other hand, Momis has had something of an economic conversion since becoming President, and believes only a fire sale of Bougainville’s natural resources to foreign investors will save his land from ruin.
Momis and O’Neill might not like each other (!!), but they know they need each other. If PNG is to be rid of the financial albatross, O’Neill believes he must assure the international community that whatever the outcome of the referendum, PNG will act as a mature friend of Bougainville. On the other hand, Momis has bought the AusAid mantra and thinks that only the wide-scale sell off of Bougainville’s resources will establish an economic future for his island, so Momis needs O’Neill to act as a mature guarantor foreign investors can believe in.
These are not necessarily well thought out or well supported strategies, indeed they may be the quickest route to wrack and ruin; but it explains the recent odd behaviour of Momis and O’Neill, who are what the kids call these days, ‘frenemies’.
By Pasifika Media Wardrobes
The Special Agriculture and Business Lease (SABL) concept was found as a failed and illegal land scheme for Papua New Guineans and the many local landowners that underwent the concept of land leases.
Since the tabling of the Commission of Inquiry (COI) into the SABL in October 2013, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill promised that the reports were to be made public and action would be taken immediately.
Based on the findings and recommendations of the reports, Peter O’Neill himself labelled the SABL scheme as “a total failure to landowners” that involved a lot of illegalities, and he told parliament that his government will act on it.
But to date, that promise is not forthcoming, while many of the cases highlighted in the inquiry reports continue to carry on their illegal operations while landowners remain voiceless.
“A ministerial taskforce committee will be appointed to look into the findings and recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry and will report to parliament,” said O’Neill when presenting the reports before parliament in October 2013.
But the status of the ministerial committee is unknown, and civil society organizations are still questioning the task of the committee.
On the other hand, Alois Jerewai (the commissioner who failed to hand in his report to parliament) gave his reasons for failing to meet the deadline set by the Prime Minister, adding that the COI was under-funded and it is reflected in the serious qualification to the COI report once allowed to be published.
“The Commission of Inquiry into the SABL received only K7 million out of the K15 million that the Prime Minister said it spent on this inquiry…I want to know where the other balance of K8 million was spent. It certainly was not spent on this COI,” said Jerewai.
The respective inquiry reports compiled by Chief Commissioner, John Numapo, and Commissioner, Nicholas Mirou, found that there was widespread abuse, fraud, lack of coordination between government agencies, failure and incompetence of government officials to ensure compliance, accountability and transparency within the SABL process.
The reports highlighted that throughout the course of the inquiry, serious allegations were levelled against officials and senior government bureaucrats involved in the management of SABL, with bribes and inducements being offered by project developers and representatives of landowner companies to procure SABL titles.
The inquiry also received evidence of undue political pressures being put on government officials by senior Ministers and politicians to fast-track SABL applications and issue titles. Incidences of political interference were numerous and were reported in respective individual SABL reports.
The reports overall findings pointed out that there was corruption and mismanagement, and lack of coordination by key agencies including departments of Lands and Physical Planning, Environment and Conservation, Agriculture and Livestock, Provincial Affairs and Local Level Government, Investment Promotion Authority, PNG Forest Authority, and the Forest Clearance Authority.The reports stated that the entire land management system in PNG is in a mess and recommended that the SABL process should be done away with or a workable policy be formulated on SABL that benefits local landowners.
It stands a sad fact that the Commission of Inquiry reports have not been made public, not even to those concerned, the landowners.
Executive Director of PNG Institute of National Affairs, Paul Barker says he hopes SABL doesn’t become another issue that the Government sweeps under the carpet.
“There was a public outcry when the Government failed to hand in reports of the commission of inquiry, and after much pressure they were presented to parliament. And let’s hope there is action on the findings and recommendations set by the inquiry,” said Barker.
Executive Director of Partners with Melanesians, Ken Mondiai added that the Government must cancel all SABLs and hand over land titles to landowners.
“The inquiry has already found that most operations of SABL were illegal and the PM himself declared it as a miserable failure,” said Mondiai.
Tony Power, a local from East Sepik say 38 of the 42 leases mentioned in the report were fraudulently obtained by foreign companies “and they must be cancelled and returned back to the rightful landowners.”
“Local landowners have waited for far too long and it is almost over 10 years…their land and resources must be returned to them,” said Power.
From ACT NOW!
In September 2013 Prime Minister Peter O’Neill presented to Parliament the reports from two of the three Commissioners appointed to investigated the SABL land grab.
The reports revealed a web of deceit, mismanagement and corruption surrounding the allocation of SABL leases to foreign companies which, in many cases, the companies are using as cover for illegal logging operations.
But the reports presented to Parliament cover only 42 of the 75 leases referred to the Commission of Inquiry. The findings on the other 33 leases are contained in the report of Alois Jerewai which, 4 months later, has still not been released.
Many of the leases investigated by Jerewai are in East and West New Britain, a stronghold of Malaysian logging giant Rimbunan Hijau.
The Prime Minister, the Commission of Inquiry and Mr Jerewai are all failing the people of the PNG if they do not release the report.
A senior member of the Prime Minister’s Peoples National Congress party branch in Morobe is yet to be arrested by police after he caused the death of a one teenager and seriously injured another.
Garrette Kissing a close associate of Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill and a relative of Community Development Minister, Loujaya Kousa was driving while under the influence.
Police have been too scared to arrest Kissing for fear of possible reprisals. One traffic officer is reported to have said Garrette Kissing can’t be arrested because em “bikman tumas.”
Kissing is also reported to have called local media to prevent reports from being published.
He owns Red Rock a construction company that recently received a small road building contract from the government.
Here is another one on corruption during the reign of Peter O’Neill as PM. Remember the 2011 supplementary budget of K500 million declared by Finance & Treasury Minister Don Polye? Where did all that money go? How was it appropriated?
That K500 million surplus budget was used to fund the 2012 elections of the PNC and THE parties.
Don Polye’s campaign funding from this K500 million was sourced thru a construction company call Tepman contractors. Funds were remitted to the Kandep district treasury and eventually paid to the contractor. The owner is Luke Minjikuli a first cousin to Polye. His party benefited more thru funding for David Arore, Dellilah Gore, Douglas Tomuriesa, Sali Subam and all the other winning and loosing candidates who contested under the THE party ticket.
Tomuriesa benefited thru his company called Quick Span Building Systems Ltd where K6 million was paid by the South Fly District treasury after these money was remitted from the Finance Dept. Tomuriesa used over half of it to campaign for his seat.
Subam got his share to campaign also in the form of the purchase of K3 million worth of roofing iron for South Fly district – materials which have to date not been delivered.
O’Neill’s party benefited from half of the K500 million surplus. The Finance Dept knows that. Tosali knows that and Steven Gibson was the major facilitator getting payments going as per Polye’s directives.
Belden Namah was working hard to keep O’Neill as PM but never knew what was happening at Finance & Treasury.
Sam Basil who was National Planning & Monitoring Minister was kept out and never knew what was happening to the surplus money because none of the proceeds of the surplus money ever reached his department to fund approved projects.
The K54 million made into the Parliamentary imprest account was beleived to be from this K500 million. This was just to keep Jeffery Nape happy because he actually benefited in the form of a K5 million prior to getting Peter O’Neill sworn in at government house when he first refused in his capacity as acting GG.
Why two deficit national budgets in a row (2012 & 2013)? Its largely due to the misuse of the 2011 surplus K500 million which never funded any budgeted projects.
Be aware; Polye and Co are again orchestrating a similar plan for 2017 national elections. It is highly likely he will deliver deficit budgets for years 2014 & 2015, then declare a surplus budget in 2016 for the purpose of funding their parties’ election campaigns in June/July 2017.
Being the party leader he refused to become the deputy PM because of two issues;
- To ensure the lid is kept closed on the use of the 2011 surplus budget and other corrupt practices perpetrated during the last term in office.
- Plan to steal again to fund his 2017 naional elections.
There are 172 million reasons every year why the government of Peter O’Neill is steadfastly refusing to implement the recommendations of the SABL Commission of Inquiry and revoke unlawful and illegal SABL leases.
172 million reasons why the government is standing by and watching the fraud and corruption and the accumulating losses for customary landowners.
K172 million* is the value of the logs exported from the illegal SABL areas every 12 months, according to SGS, the agency employed by the government to monitor log export volumes. SGS put the total value of logs exported from PNG in 2012 at K306 million and says 29% came from SABL areas where logging is done under Forest Clearance Authorities (FCAs).
This logging in SABL areas has been going on since at least 2010 and is still continuing. At the 2012 rate, the accumulated theft now exceeds K700 million.
Every month the O.Neill government refuses to revoke the leases another K14 million is stolen from customary landowners, filling the pockets of the foreign logging companies and the politicians and public servants who have facilitated the fraud.
K14 million a month – that is what it costs to buy our government, our Ministers, the NEC and our CORRUPT Prime Minister.
This is what the Commission of Inquiry said about the SABLs:
“With corrupt government officials from implementing agencies riding shotgun for them, opportunistic loggers masquerading as agro-forestry developers are prowling our countryside, scoping opportunities to take advantage of gullible landowners and desperate for cash clan leaders.” [p242]
“The Commission of Inquiry found widespread abuse, fraud, lack of coordination between agencies of government, failures and incompetence of government officials to ensure compliance, accountability and transparency within the SABL process from application stage to registration, processing, approval and granting of the SABL”
“Legal requirements were deliberately breached and proper processes and procedures were either by-passed or simply ignored… agencies were reckless, careless and negligent” [Report 1 p235 and 236]
The Commission of Inquiry recommended 38 of 42 SABL leases be REVOKED (their emphasis) but the government has refused to do act. Instead the Prime Minister has asked the very same government agencies the CoI said were corrupt and incompetent to come up with their own set of recommendations.
What a cruel joke on the people of PNG!
* K172,261,823 to be precise (or US$88,775,620)