Home > Corruption, Land, Papua New Guinea > SABL Case Study 11: The Kassman family and their fraudulent LNG land deals

SABL Case Study 11: The Kassman family and their fraudulent LNG land deals

December 16, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

SABL Commission of Inquiry Report 1: Pages 143 – 166

Gerrard Kassman and his sons Charles and John are the beneficiaries of two illegal and fraudulent SABL land deals close to Port Moresby that seek to cash in on the Exxon-Mobil LNG project.

 “There was misrepresentation and fraud involved in the whole process” [p164]

The forging of landowner signatures “borders on fraud and is a criminal act” [p151]

“KHL and CJV are owned by one family to the exclusion of all other legitimate landowners” [p150].

“the sublease made to the developer CJ Ventures [is] fraudulent and improper” [p156]

“it was obvious that officers from DLPP [including] Romily Kila-Pat deliberately decided to ignore and by-pass the existing protocols and practices” [p153}

“The whole process is riddled with defects and flaws” [p157]

“the conduct of Mr Mai [of Kundu lawyers] raises a lot of questions… Mr Mai’s conduct is unbecoming of a professional lawyer” [p155] He “acted improperly and unprofessionally” [p157]

“The manner in which the SABL application was processed… is a blatant disregard of the law and those responsible must be held accountable for their unlawful conduct and actions” [p165]

“We accordingly recommend that the SABL[s]… to be REVOKED” [p157]

This Case Study covers the Special Agriculture and Business Lease over Portions 2465C and 2466C

These adjacent SABLs cover a total area of 980ha in the Motu-Koita villages of Papa and Lealea near the LNG Plant site and approximately 15km from Port Moresby.

Direct Grants of 99 year leases were made to Konekaru Holdings in 2010.

Landowners “were not adequately consulted and were not involved in the process and have not given their consent for the SABL[s]” [p146]

Gerald Kassman is not a landowner as he comes from Korobosea and has no ancestral links to the leased land.

KHL has appointed CJ Ventures as the developer of the project (CJV is owned by Gerard Kassman’s sons Charles and John) and signed a sub-lease.

“KHL and CJV are owned by one family to the exclusion of all other legitimate landowners” [p150].

The purpose of the sub-lease is to make land available to Exxon-Mobil for storage and other purposes.

“There was no land investigations carried out and no public hearings or meetings. Most importantly, majority of the landowners have not given their consent to lease their land for SABL” [p152]

Konekaru Holdings is owned by Gerard Kassman and Henao Tetei [p147]. KHL is not a landowner company as intended for the purposes of holding an SABL – “this defeats the whole intent and purpose of SABL” [p156]

“The LIR [Land Investigation Report] was incomplete and defective, the Certificate of Alienation was signed under duress…” [p157]

The LIR and Lease-lease back agreement is defective as only two people signed on behalf of all the listed landowners and in some instances forged the signatures of other landowners. This “borders on fraud and is a criminal act” [p151]

DLPP failed to consult with Provincial lands officers in carrying out the land investigation process which is normally a Provincial responsibility.

“No officers from the Division of Lands Department of Central Province were involved in the LIP and other processes leading up to the issuing of the SABLs for the three portions” [p152]

“it was obvious that officers from DLPP comprising Lazarus Malesa, Simon Malu, Henry Wasa and Romily Kila-Pat deliberately decided to ignore and by-pass the existing protocols and practices… when they decided to grant three separate SABLs … over Portions 2456C, 2466C and 2485C”. [p153]

“It is clear the land investigation process was ‘high jacked’ by officers from DLPP when this is clearly the function of Lands Division of the Department of Central” [p154]

“The whole process is riddled with defects and flaws” [p157]

The term of the sublease exceeds the term of the head lease “which is improper and unlawful” [p154]

The Register of Titles, Henry Was a, registered the SABL despite an existing land dispute.

“This is careless and reckless discharge of an official function” [p154]

“Romily Kila-Pat in his capacity as Acting Secretary for DLPP and a Ministerial Delegate… went ahead to grant the SABLs for Portions 2456C and 2466C despite the fact the LIR was defective and the Lease-leaseback Agreement fraudulently acquired” [p154]

Emmanuel Mai of Kundu Legal Services was “heavily involved in facilitating the production of the LIR and ‘rushed’ the Lands Officers of Central Provincial Administration to sign the LIR which was incomplete and not properly done” [p154]

“the conduct of Mr Mai raises a lot of questions… he was exerting pressure and to some degree coerced government officials into signing… Mr Mai’s conduct is unbecoming of a professional lawyer” [p155]

He “acted improperly and unprofessionally in facilitating the application and processing of the SABL” [p157]

“The informed consent of ALL landowners was not obtained… Konekaru Holdings Limited is not a landowner company. Furthermore … the sublease made to the developer CJ Ventures [is] fraudulent and improper” [p156]

“The LIR was incomplete and defective and the certificate of Alienation was signed under duress… There seem to have been a lot of controversies at every stage… All these issues and concerns should be reason enough for DLPP not to issue this particular SABL but yet it proceeded to issue the SABL. This raises a lot of questions” [p157]

Their has been no Environmental Inception Report submitted to DEC nor an Environmental Impact Statement. No Environmental Permit has been issued. [p153]

“The intimidation tactics used by the officers from DLPP and the lawyers to hasten the processing and granting of the SABL is both unacceptable and unprofessional” [p164]

“The SABL … was improper and unlawful as proper processes and procedures … have not been complied with… There are a lot of irregularities, defects and breaches in the granting of this SABL… that .. cannot lawfully stand” [p157]

“We accordingly recommend that the SABL[s]… to be REVOKED” [p157]

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  1. Biga Lebasi
    December 12, 2016 at 3:12 pm

    Haul those involved in the illegal landgrab to the courts and make them pay restitution accordingly for abusing the rights of the genuine land owners. Hemarai dikadika! Hereadae PNGExposed!

  1. January 13, 2014 at 7:13 am
  2. December 12, 2016 at 9:21 am

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