Home > Corruption, Human rights, Land, Papua New Guinea > Ex-Customs chief against rice monopoly project

Ex-Customs chief against rice monopoly project

January 18, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

By Simon Eroro

FORMER PNG Customs Commissioner Gary Juffa is seeking legal advice from his lawyers to stop a rice project promoted by Eliana Tjandra from the Papindo Group of companies, a naturalised citizen.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, when interviewed yesterday, said any investments in the country must follow strict procedures and refused to entertain the project.

Mr Juffa said Ms Tjandra has brought in investors from Indonesia and China with the intention to secure vast tracts of land in Central Province to cultivate and sell rice for commercial purposes in the country.

The former PNG Customs boss said Ms Tjandra is currently facing charges of fraud for conspiring with Lands Department officers to illegally obtain titles to parcels of land in Port Moresby and she is out on bail.

Mr Juffa, who is a clan leader from Northern Province, has come out strongly against the project and urged leaders to seek the interests of the people rather then allow what he called “absurd projects” that demeaned and deprived people from exercising their right to conduct business in their own country.

He is adamant that his clan and others in the province would be affected by this project to the extent that they may be unable in the future to engage in the growing and selling of rice.

“Rice has slowly become a popular crop in Oro Province with substantial volumes being grown by villagers who sometimes sell their rice at markets, shops and even to the local schools and hospital,” he said.

Mr Juffa claimed that the project was hostile to the interests of his Soriane clan of more than 5000 people and indeed all Papua New Guineans who are involved in the growing of rice.

“This absurd project seeks to ban the growing and selling of rice by any entity, individual or organisation in the country. It is a project that seeks to marginalise all citizens and prevent them from benefitting from the growing and selling of rice by Papua New Guineans in their own land,” he said.

“While creating a monopoly for a foreign entity…what type of leaders would do this to their own people to demean them and diminish their opportunities whether present or future?”

Mr Juffa said the Government stop the project and stand by the interests of the people rather then facilitate the project. He said authorities must convene necessary discussions to develop policies to develop a rice industry for Papua New Guineans.

“Leaders are elected to serve, promote and protect the interests of their people, those who elected them into parliament for that purpose,” he said. “Having studied the documents and details regarding this project, I am concerned that this effort is harsh and oppressive towards our citizens becoming self sufficient in this regards – growing and selling of rice.”

Mr Juffa said our people who will be affected do not know of this sinister project.

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  1. Paul Amatio
    January 18, 2012 at 8:37 am

    Thank you Garry.

    I have a few questions that need answers to:

    * WHY IS THIS PROPOSAL BEING CONSIDERED AT ALL?
    * WHO IS OR ARE THE SUPPORTER(S) OF THIS PROPOSAL?
    * HAVE THE LOCALS LANDOWNERS BEEN APPRAISED OF WHAT THIS PROPOSAL ON THEIR LAND IS ABOUT?
    * WHY HAVE THE SECRETARY AND MINISTER FOR LANDS BEEN SILENT ON THIS?

    This proposal should be thrown into the rubbish bin where it belongs. And Tjandra should be told to go back to Indonesia or China or where she comes from and see if she can get the land to do the same thing there.

    I have serious doubts about whether her intentions and reasons for the land are the same as ours or in line with our national interests.

    I also do not feel she and her supporters have PNG’s national interests in terms of food security and prosperity as the primary reasons for this blatant attempt at land grabbing.

    Something needs to be understood about the value of land to Asians. You cannot, as a foreigner, buy land in an Asian country. while I understand she is a naturalised citizen, this action brings me to question her loyalty to PNG.

  2. January 18, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    Thank you Garry juffa, you are a beacon of hope against corruption and I hope that you will maintain your stand when you get elected to parliament and rid oro of corruption and also png of this systemic and endemic plague that’s crippling our beloved nation. Many have gone before you in the likes of Sam basil to fight the corruption fight but seem to have suddenly gone quiet..I wonder why??

  3. JUDY
    January 18, 2012 at 11:47 pm

    Garry,like you I am so frastrated with our Politicians,and Officers of State of Papua New Guinea who I think do not take the time to look into matters that will affect alot of PNGeans.;not just now but but for years to come.Matters that will makes us look and feel like “losers”.The profit earned is for those who owned the business.The workers who will work for them will earn significantly low wages,not to mention the working conditions of the worker.Relevent questions must be asked by our Politicians and Top Public servants.
    I ask this question,do we Papua New Guineans really know how to do re-search of our own before any major or important issues that will affect Papua New Guineans, is given the green light?I am so amazed at what some top Public Servants and their Political master are doing and have been doing over the last 36years.It looks like they have sold us to anybody with money from the Asian Continent:but the aliens have bought their way in;that is questionable by every right thinking PNGean.
    Papua New Guineans need to think not only about the family “lain” now ; but after they are dead and gone the generation that are yet to come.We must think about them too.

  4. Gary
    February 1, 2012 at 11:17 pm

    ALL: we as Papua New Guineans, have no choice, but to fight for the best possible future we can deliver to our children….Gary Juffa

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